This past week we all watched in horror the catastrophic devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. We have never witnessed anything like this in The Bahamas; it tore our souls. The loss of life and property has reached unfathomable proportions. I cried, the prime minister cried and I am sure the many persons who have a heart cried also. There was a collective feeling of helplessness as we watched the storm climb from 80 miles per hour to 100 and the 120, 130, 155 and finally 185 with gusts up to 220 miles per hour. We could no nothing as it directly hit Marsh Harbour and then went up the middle of Grand Bahama before parking for 30 hours over the Freeport area.
This was bad; as bad as it could get. The initial number did not seem too bad but as the story unfolded we all realized that it was worse than any of us could imagine. Questions have swirled about what could have been done better, what should have been done better, and that debate continues. At this very worst national low point we began to see the good in our people and the good in the world. In the midst of the storm, our first responders were out on boats and jet skis doing their best to rescue those trapped. Neighbors began to help neighbors.
A friend in Abaco retold a story to my wife of how she entertained almost 200 persons in her business who may have otherwise lost their lives. The space of the business was not designed for 200 persons but when people are dying, and we have the love of God, we extend beyond our capacity. International friends called me during the storm and said to me, “Pastor Dave, this is going to be bad. We are going to prepare helicopters and airplanes now and as soon as there is an airstrip we will be there.” The U.S. Coast Guard joined the Bahamas defence force and sent in the choppers. I live near the airport in Nassau and I saw a stream of choppers for days, knowing that they represented lives being saved by people who were concerned about Bahamians.
Others called and said, “We are praying for you.” I began receiving calls from all over the world, some thinking that Nassau was in the direct path. Almost immediately they began to ask what can they do. As we explained what could be done, the responses started coming in. Many asked for a link or bank account to send money. Others asked when could they bring a team to help. In the worst storm ever for The Bahamas, good began to emerge.
There is good and bad in all of us and sometimes we have to find the good. We don’t like or want disaster but in these times we find out who really cares and we also find good on the inside that may have been hidden from view. As a nation, we must be careful not to focus on the horror although we have to acknowledge it and show it to some extent. Our focus should be on the good because that is what will help us get through; we have to find the good.
I saw an image that was so touching that was shown on social media of a female defence force officer with one baby in her arm while she held a bottle in the other baby’s mouth. Thank you our dear sister, God bless you for having a heart and caring in the midst of great distress. Each of us must individually and collectively find the good; the bad is all around us but we need the good to arise. At our church, members have called and asked how they can help, teenagers came and said they are willing to volunteer, wanting to know how they could assist. Many came to the church to pack bags and boxes of groceries to be shipped out to the disaster zones.
I was truly touched by the care, concern and willingness to help. In times like these, we must find the good. Jesus made a statement where He said, “If you have done it unto these who are least you have done it unto me.” He explained that if you visit someone in prison, care for the sick and feed the hungry and the poor, you have done it unto Him. We are the hands and feet of God in the earth but if we are focused on the wrong things we can lose sight of the good and be consumed by our individual problems and concerns and lose sight of the good in us. So I say to you today, in spite of Dorian, in spite of the loss and the tremendous tragedy, please find the good.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.