Pastor Herb woke up at the first shocks. He threw on his pants and sneakers and raced outside to look over the edge of the bluff. He stood in shock of what was happening below. The city is falling apart. Look, that’s smoke. Must be from oil. Oh Lord, help us all now and with those struggling to get out.
He flinched as an explosion to the west echoed across the city. That must’ve been the gas line. Oh no, the old bridges are going down.
Herb could see people running for their lives toward the high bridge. It’s a wonder that it’s still in place. No, maybe not a wonder. Thank you Jesus, for providing this means of escape. Those poor people will need help and a place to go. Oh my, they’ll be coming straight for me. This is what Elise’ parents must’ve envisioned. This is what they prepared for with the multi-purpose building and warehouse…, and all those supplies.
His feet were quicker than his mind as they carried him from his perch back toward the church and the stark reality of what was coming up the road right toward him. I’ve got to get this mess cleaned up and get the supplies pulled out and ready. I’ll need help. Lots of help, that’s for sure.
The jarring tone of the phone helped him get a grip. Good. At least the phones still work on this side. He recognized Gordy’s voice and felt a sigh of relief as Gordy told him the bunch of them were on the way to help. He’d just set the phone down when it rang again. “Yes, we can use all the help we can get and thank you.”
Diane stumbled into the building behind Herb. He noticed the flare in her eyes and the pink in her cheeks. I know that look. It’s exactly how I feel. Together they hurried through the building opening up storage bunkers.
She rushed past him with a broom and dustpan, herding the scattered glass into a quick pile. “I’ve unlocked the church and made sure that was safe. Not too much broken in the basement or sanctuary.”
She stopped dead in her tracks and looked at Herb in alarm. “The chapel window. It’s blown in all over the chapel…, just like Ted said it would. So this is it. The rest of his vision.”
Another tremor shook the bluff, jarring her thoughts. “Wow, that was a strong one. Anyway, we’ve not much electric yet. Do you think you could get the generators going? Those people will need help and we’re it.”
Herb nodded in agreement as she whirled past. “Exactly what I was thinkin’. We’ve help on the way too.” He looked down the road past the eager Diane. The first people became visible, doing a half run, half carry, as they helped each other up the slant of the drive. A strange calm seemed to overtake him as the urgency of what was coming right for him passed over him. With God’ help, we can do this. We can be the ones to stand firm when all else has failed. Here we go. The generators purred to life with enough standby power for the church campus.
The first faces carried the story of the horror below the bluff. Then the flood of people came too fast to pick out individual faces. “Here’s a blanket for you and some water. Your friend will need to go over there. Here, let me help you. No, we don’t have a doctor…, yet.”
Herb glanced back to see Diane bending over a lady with one arm hanging limp and obviously seriously injured. “I’m a mother too. Let me help you.” Herb noticed the look of trust pass between the two mothers, then the window between them closed with more hurting people.
The deep booming voice of Ralph Severson carried over the crowd. Herb looked up as Gordy and his friends came running through the door. Help at last. Thank you Lord.
The crowd swelled until Herb couldn’t sort out voices. He moved in quick reaction, helping to sort and help as fast as he could. The first pile of blankets evaporated in minutes. Herb turned to another stack with relief. Elise’ parents sure knew what they were doing when they put this together.
Herb looked into the frightened eyes of a young couple, holding each other tight. The trauma below reflected in their faces. “Here you go and some water too. If you’re not seriously hurt, then try over there.” Herb pointed toward the far end of the building for the less hurt. Help me Lord, to discern…, which are hurt too badly or those that can wait. This end for the hurt is filling up fast and I haven’t a doctor or nurse. The building reached full and overflowing. Herb found himself back outside, trying to sort and help what was rapidly becoming an out of control scene. Lord, we need help here, and fast.