“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
- Matthew 24:6-7
I am told not to be alarmed by natural and man made disasters. Being alarmed, shocked or caught off guard implies I expected something different - perhaps I expected nothing, or less complex development work or less factors affecting my attempt to create a better world. The reality is I live in a complex world and I work in a particularly complex industry with many things out of my control.
Kids are growing up in a more threatening and complicated world than ever before with severe physical, social, emotional, sexual, religious, ethnic, economic as well as natural hazards. These risks deserve a Realist perspective not an Optimist one in order to effectively change the impact they have on people’s lives. My Realist perspective can be a Godly perspective if I accept the challenge that Bad things happen to Good people. Jesus’ message in Matthew is not a fatalistic approach but reality/truth. However, Jesus also speaks of faith, hope and love in the midst of such tragedy.
My attitude towards disasters should reflect hope amongst the disasters and while I cannot prevent a lot of them from happening, I can be prepared to a certain extent, mitigate risks and reduce the impact on communities and their livelihoods.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
- Matthew 7:24-27
Wisdom is the application of truth. If I have the truth that disasters will happen, it would be foolish to not consider the sustainability of the foundation which I am building my development work. Not only is it foolish to invest funds without protecting that investment, but also considering the fragility of the government, economy, society and the rocky foundation of the lives of the communities in general.
Finally, once I have wisely done what I can to build resilience into my work I must have faith and hope to see my work through until one day all communities can embrace the same reality and learn to build their own resilience and encourage one another in faith, hope and love.