Some disasters affect the entire community, and some affect a few people. Nonetheless, a disaster is a disaster. How we cope with it is most significant. If we don’t address it and simply try to put it out of our mind, the next time something bad happens, it could be worse because we are experiencing the past coupled with a current negative experience. So, let us discuss how to deal with the disaster and how to survive afterwards. Let us talk about how to stand tall when the wind blows hard.
Many people would ask the question, “Why me?” I like what I heard someone say a long time ago, “Why not you?” In other words none of us are exempt from bad things happening even to the point of it being a disaster. It is unwise to question why this happened to “me.” Eventually bad things happen to everyone. Therefore, our first step of dealing with a disaster is to recognize that all of us are vulnerable to the disasters and that God has not singled us out.
Prayer must be a central part of our surviving a disaster. However, it is so easy to say the words and then move along trying to solve our own problems without allowing God’s input. When we pray, we must have the expectation that our prayer is literally going to God. When we pray we must have the expectation that there will be a result from our prayers. When facing difficult times, recognize that God hears and cares. Just as when we talk to another human, we expect feedback and results from that conversation. When we talk to the Heavenly Father, it will be encouraging and strengthening to us to have the conviction that our prayers are being heard.
Allow yourself to be angry. Nowhere does the Bible say that God forbids us being angry. He does say for us to be angry and sin not. It is important for us to vent our emotions. When I had a significant loss in my life, I repeatedly told God that it was not fair. I cried. As I drove my car, I pounded on the steering wheel. I hated the experience. I did not hear an audible voice in reply, but I did hear the conviction that God said he agreed with me that the situation was not fair. Vent your anger in appropriate ways through exercise, beating pillows or punching bags, running as far as your body will take you, screaming at the top of your voice. Confirm and justify yourself for the trauma that you are experiencing.
Recognize your limitations. That includes the inability to cure, fix, or adjust the situation. We all have limitations. Just because we are going through a traumatic situation does not give us any form of superpower to go beyond human limitations. Should you have the attitude that you can fix everything, you will only have frustration and more anger.
In Philippians the fourth chapter the apostle Paul shares his experiences that were probably disasters to him. In verse twelve he said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Then he goes on with the famous thirteenth verse saying, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” His point was twofold: he knew the extremes of life that was presented to him as trauma versus satisfaction. He added that whatever life brings, we as believers in Christ can survive because it is Christ that strengthens us. He walks with us in the dark times and in the sunny times. He concludes his point by saying in the nineteenth verse, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
We do not live in a static world. Circumstances change by the minute. The sharp knife of hurt will never go away, but the edge will eventually become dulled. It will always be a part of your history. The original experience of disaster will not necessarily and repeatedly be relived every day unless we dwell on the hurts. What we dwell on, what we think about in our today time- frame will affect our emotions as we try to get beyond disaster. Again in Philippians 4, Paul offers good spiritual and psychological advice telling us on what we should focus. Keep in mind that what we think about can only be changed if we refocus to something else. We can only think about one thing at a time. That is why it would be a good idea to memorize verse eight that says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Even though we have had terrible times Paul says that we should focus on the positive of today and not continually rehash and relive our traumas. By applying this verse, we can build a better life.