Friday, April 29, 2011

Greater Love Hath No Man Than This...

One of the first stories that I read on my phone about the recent round of terrible tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and beyond was about a Louisiana police officer who protected his little girl with his own body while the tornado swept through their campsite. Moments later a large sweetgum tree fell on him and he was killed.  His child escaped without physical injury. She lives because of his sacrifice.

They have now released some details.  The officer's name is Lieutenant Wade Sharp, 40,  from Covington, Louisiana. He was a 19 year veteran of the Covington Police department and has risked his life at least twice before to rescue others from burning houses. They were vacationing with several other families near Ackerman, Mississippi. (Just about 80 miles from where we were last week) In the last few moments of his life Lt. Wade Sharp acted exactly as he always had.  He put himself in harms way in order to protect some one else. This many truly lived and died a hero.

There is much tragic news from these storms. We are all reading of the horrendous size and incredible power of the tornadoes, the terrible destruction, the loss of property, the loss of so many lives and the helpless feeling in many that remain. We are seeing the images of the tornadoes, the havoc they wrought and the chaos they left in their path. We will be remembering these stories and images for a long time to come. For those that have been directly affected by these storms all across the southeast, it will be a long and arduous road to recovery.

Yet in the midst of all the terrible, bad, bad news, stories emerge like the one I told to you above. Wade Sharp and others we are beginning to hear about acted on instinct and went beyond the "normal" requirements of life and put others needs and safety before their own. They didn't act out of duty or obligation.  They acted out of Love. Love drives men and women to be willing to lay down their lives for others.

Jesus told us in John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Then Jesus went to the cross and demonstrated exactly how to do it. He demonstrated the selflessness of true love. We live in a selfish world and in this selfish world, to see the selflessness of love demonstrated is very refreshing.

The impact of the loss of Wade Sharp will be keenly felt by his wife, children, coworkers and community for a very long time. But his daughter lives because Wade Sharp loved. A family of 14 in Alabama lives because their father, Tom Lee loved. Many others lived through those terrible storms because some one else loved. The tragedy is heart wrenching but the demonstrated love is heart warming.

It occurs to me now that it is not too late to save and help others with our love. We weren't there to do something spur of the moment and heroic but it's not to late to do something selfless. I know two good churches that are in Tuscaloosa and I know they are distributing food and water and helping in any way they can. I am going to contact them and see what we can do. I can not be there but I can possibly send money. In fact, I am sure there is something that each one of you can do. Sometimes love costs us something but it is always worth it.

Thank God that love is still producing heroes in this selfish world.


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