I got off the phone this morning with a woman from West, Texas. When I made the call, I wasn’t expecting to speak to a woman. After a few seconds, I learned that the man I intended to speak with was a firefighter who lost his life trying to save the lives of others in the West fertilizer company explosion in April. Upon hearing his story and the pain in the woman’s voice as she tried to explain the lack of organization at her office due to his passing, I was convicted. I hung up the phone, wrote down the man’s name as I removed his contact information from my database and mourned.
Although cognizant of the West tragedy, I had long since stopped praying over the situation and the people who were still experiencing the wounds of April 17, 2013 daily. I hate that I am so quick to think those deep wounds have been healed and no longer need prayer after a mere six months. I mourned for this man and the people still hurting from that fateful April day. I mourned for my own ignorance to the pain that ensues after emergency response leaves and people attempt to reconstruct the puzzle of their lives despite major pieces missing.
I think about West, Texas. I think about Moore, Oklahoma. I think about Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I think about Indonesia. I think about New York City. I think about the Pentagon. When tragedy strikes, we hastily rush in with aid, but as days, months and years pass, we forget that those same people we were so quick to help are still trudging through each day dealing with wounds that may never fully heal.
A child is forced to face life without a parent. A wife is forced to hold herself together after losing her other half. A parent is forced to lay a child to rest. A friend is forced to look at pictures that freeze a moment in time with someone they will never see on this earth again.
That pain is real and doesn’t leave when emergency responders pack up their bags and head home. I’m convicted that the least we can do is enter into that pain through prayer, which is powerful beyond measure. While we may not be able to provide anymore physical relief, we can bombard the throne room with pleas for healing, restoration and peace.