Answers In Love

Winning at Life God's Way

4 Things You Must Do to Recover when Disaster Rocks Your World


Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

Historic rainfall brought disaster to Houston last week. America looked on with compassion then pitched in to help. I’ve done something to help. Have you?

As epic tragedy befell Texas, smaller catastrophes rocked the private worlds of people living elsewhere. Last week many people buried a loved one, received devastating medical news, suffered betrayal by a spouse, became  victims of crime, lost a job, a home or met with a crippling accident.

Catastrophic events catch us off guard. They cause disorientation and shove us into new, unwanted realities. They take us to unfamiliar places where we don’t know the landscape and don’t know what to do.

Knowing what to do increases our chances for making a successful recovery when disaster strikes. Taking these four steps will lead to positive outcomes.

Four Steps to Recover from Disaster

1. Choose Hope not Bitterness

God is sovereign over all (Ephesians 1:22). His love, promises and faithfulness are bigger than our circumstances. He brings good from all things for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Turn to God when bad things happen. Ask anyone who has walked with God for a while. They will tell you how He brought good from something bad.

Read the story of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 37-46 ). Hear the testimony of Johnnie Ericson Tada. God promises He will not let us slip from His care and protection (Psalm 121:3).

Even when you can’t imagine any good coming from a disaster, believe that it will come so long as God’s invited into the situation. Prepare to be surprised and amazed. Keep your eyes peeled for good.

2. Go Ahead and Cry

Hope in God does not protect us from suffering the pain caused by loss. Hope only eases our pain by helping us view our circumstances as temporary situations that will eventually resolve well.

Grief makes us feel sad and exhausted. It brings anger, fear, confusion and a host of other strong emotions. It causes us to question everything, even God. Don’t deny or fear these normal reactions.

Do not bottle up pain and try to act strong. Doing so will damage your health.

3. Get To Work.

Life moves on after tragedy even when we want the world to stop. People recover best when they begin stepping forward as soon as possible after disaster despite how they feel.

I value a friend’s wisdom spoken after a storm blew into my life. She said, “In this business, you either sink or swim.” I got it. I could go down wallowing in helplessness and self pity or swim for life.

Grief drains energy and slows us down. The work of grief takes time. However, it’s best to alternate periods of grieving with periods of moving forward.

Rebuilding after tragedy requires us to do work nobody else can do. It requires:

  1. Reaching for God (others can equip and encourage)
  2. Choosing personal direction (others can help identify options)
  3. Doing our part (others grow weary helping slackers)

You may only feel able to to take baby steps at first. That’s okay. Just start moving on.

4. Get Help

Disaster recovery usually involves more work than we can do alone. Never try to weather a life storm by yourself. It’s not God’s plan (Gatlations 6:2).

Practical Help: Life-rocking events can leave us with insufficient money, strength, transportation, housing and basic resources needed to move forward.

Churches, organizations, agencies, friends and family stand ready to help. That’s America. We see this on display in Houston.

Personal Help. Tragedies also wreak internal havoc. They trigger powerful emotions that need voice and validation. Disasters disrupt our understanding of the world and God. They alter roles and personal identity.

Pastors, counselors and other professionals, support groups, self-help books, safe family members and friends all can help us regain internal equilibrium.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Trying to cope alone could put you at great risk like those in Houston who mistakenly thought they could weather Harvey on their own.



I hope these four steps help you or someone you know cope successfully with disaster. If your life has been upended, which one of these do you need to act on?

Please share this post with anyone you know who’s suffered a devastating event and could use help knowing what to do next.




About Cheryl Savageau

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

2 Replies

  1. Carl E Lancaster

    Cheryl, this is excellent! It is so practical and would be very helpful to anyone who would take those steps. It is impressive also in that such valuable information is stated so succinctly. I have already thought of someone with whom I want to share it.

    1. Cheryl Savageau

      Thanks Carl!

Leave a Reply