When You’re in the Path of Destruction

When You’re in the Path of Destruction

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Is anyone else out there struggling with compassion fatigue?

As the death toll climbed into the thousands in Indonesia last week I could hardly wrap the tragedy around my heart. And the most recent hurricanes have threatened and destroyed vast areas where I grew up in both the Carolinas and south Georgia/north Florida. 

Some people lost everything.

What do we do with all these feelings of sorrow and helplessness? Well, of course, there will emerge tangible ways to actually donate or help in rebuilding and relief, and we must be proactive and generous. But meanwhile… I do the one thing I know how – I pray for all those suffering. And I suspect you are doing the same. 

Please feel free to Share this Prayer with those who need it most. 

A Liturgy for those who Suffer Loss from Fire, Flood or Storm

Leader: (reads regular font) O Christ in Whom Our Lives are Hidden

People: (read boldface font) fix now our hope in that which alone might sustain it.

O Christ in Whom Our Treasures are Secure, fix now our hope in You. In light of all that was so suddenly lost, O Lord, in light of all we had gathered but could not keep, comfort us.

Our nerves are frayed, O God. Our sense of place and permanence is shaken, so be to us a foundation.

We were shaped by this place, and by the living of our lives in it, by conversations and labors and studies, by meals prepared and shared, by love incarnated in a thousand small actions that became as permanent a part of this structure as any nail or wire or plank of wood. Our home was like a handprint of heaven. It was our haven, and now we are displaced, and faced with the task of great labors – not to move forward in this life, but merely to rebuild and restore what has been lost.

Have mercy, Lord Christ.

What we have lost here, are the artifacts of our journey in this world, the very things that reminded us of your grace expressed in love and friendship, and in shared experience. It is for these reasons we grieve the loss of our home and its contents – we grieve them for what they had come to signify in our stories, for they were charged with such meaning and memory, and woven with so much that is eternal.

O Father, we have suffered a hard loss, and one that we cannot endure alone. May we emerge in the months to come – even in our frailty – stronger than before, more deeply rooted in you, and more wrapped in the necessary arms of community. Give us humility to receive that which we need and cannot repay, when it is offered by others.

We thank you for the presence of friends who would share this burden of grief simply by showing up in the midst of it, and grieving with us. We thank you for small mercies and kindnesses extended. For the grace of thoughtfulness translated into the tiny details of life. For beauty. O Lord, let us not lose sight in our grief, of all that is yet bursting with beauty in this world.

Indeed, for anything spared and salvaged, we give you thanks. Let us see that even in disaster, there is grace still at work, for you know the limits of our hearts. Be with us now as we sift and clean, as we slog merely to reclaim some fraction of that which we once took for granted. Be with us as we navigate the countless details that must be tended and decisions that must be made between now and the time that we begin to feel normal again.

We do not even know yet today the full measure of what we have lost. Today is for mourning. So let us grieve together as those who know the world is broken, but who yet hold hope of its restoration.

Comfort us, O Lord, in the wake of what has overtaken us. Shield us, O Lord, from the hurts we cannot bear. Shelter us, O Lord, in the fortress of your love. Shepherd us, O Lord, as we wake each new morning, faced with the burdens of a hard pilgrimage we would not have chosen. But as this is now our path, let us walk it in faith, and let us walk it bravely, knowing that you always go before us. Amen.

©2017 “Every Moment Holy” Douglas McKelvey (Rabbit Room Press) ~ shared by Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.EncouragingWords.net

 Personal Note: Thank you to my readers for your constant prayers for my husband Michael in his recent brain surgery. He is now home and recuperating with the expert aid of visiting nurses, therapists, wife, son and brother. We are full of gratitude and hope… I promise to write a real blog next week.

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2018 Lucinda Secrest McDowell        www.EncouragingWords.net 

NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!

ORDER My New Devotionals “Ordinary Graces” ($10.99) or “Dwelling Places” ($11.99) at ChristianBook.com — best price online!



About Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Author ~ Storyteller ~ Speaker ~ Teacher "Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength" www.EncouragingWords.net
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5 Responses to When You’re in the Path of Destruction

  1. mruemerrill says:

    God bless you, Cindy! Thank you for this prayer. And did you see this amazing testimony from Indonesia? It gives me hope that even in the worst of what this world has to offer, God is working.


    I read this to my family this morning.

    And all my best to your husband as well!


  2. jguy@rose.net says:

    Cindy, This is perfect! I have forwarded itvin hopes that it can be used as our garden club devotional next week.

    Michael, your Michael, remains in my prayers. I know you are greatly relieved to have the surgery behind and I pray that his recovery will be just as miraculous.

    When things settle down, think about a time that we can gather in the mountains!

    Love you, Jane

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. maggierowe says:

    Cindy, I am having lunch today with a woman in my neighborhood whose beach home in eastern NC was destroyed by Florence. I am printing out the liturgy to give her. Your posts are always so helpful and I know are read by many who never comment. Thank you!

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