Cap's Corner: Blackwell's strength in the face of disaster is "mighty"

by Cap McIlnay

When there is a trial like the flooding we have just experienced, true character will come out. Most of us have witnessed people showing bad character in the midst of such trials. I think about Hurricane Katrina. On national TV, we all got to witness the greed of those that looted businesses and homes. We saw the lack of decency when people were shooting at fire trucks and police cars responding to emergencies. And we witnessed the depravity of those that were guilty of raping young women in the football stadium.

We saw the character of Oklahoma during the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. There were no reported cases of looting, rape, or murder. Instead, we saw Okies come from all over the state to help, cry, and pray. It's called the Oklahoma Standard – and we have seen that once again.

Over the past few weeks, we have once again witnessed the character of Okies right here in Blackwell. We saw neighbors care for neighbors; we saw our first responders work very long hours to keep us safe; we saw our linemen working on electrical wiring while standing in floodwaters.

There is another way we got to witness the character of Blackwell: churches and individuals came together to distribute food and cleaning supplies. We saw the Baptist Disaster Response team, which was invited to Blackwell by Immanuel Baptist Church Pastor Matt Smith. These people truly know how to respond to trials in other people’s lives. They came and helped all of us out.

I have always seen and acknowledged our sense of community in Blackwell, but this was the first real opportunity for me since I have lived here to witness what character would come out in a real trial. Blackwell, you did not disappoint in any way. Instead, you not only humbled me, but you motivated me with your courage, with your generosity, and with your willingness to serve.

By God, we might be a small town, and we might be a poor town, but we are a mighty town in the kind of character that counts. I am going to ask this mighty town to do something that is difficult, and that is to keep showing this kind of courage and strength to each other even when this trial is over and behind us.

When this is in our past and we still have the same issues that we had before, let us not go back to the way we were before. Let us hold on to this better side of our character, even when the sun is shining. Let us not complain like we did before, but instead seek for ways we can continue to pour out that same courage and strength. Let us mow each other’s lawns, help clean each other’s homes, and continue with this new spirit of Blackwell. If you see someone else’s trash blowing down the street, pick it up.

Each one of us is a part of this deeper character of Blackwell – this better part of us all – so let us not allow petty differences to continue to separate us. Instead, let each of us rise above those differences and witness the greatness that is in each of us.

There is a name that defines this character that we have shown to each other for all of the world to see, and that word is love. Love is a verb, a word of action and not a word of feelings.

As we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 13:4-7: “Love is patient,  love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,  it is not easily angered,  it keeps no record of wrongs.  6  Love does not delight in evil  but rejoices with the truth.  7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” That kind of character is what I was talking about. Blackwell, this is who you are. During this trial, Blackwell, you were the definition of biblical love.

When I say that I am humbled and motivated by you, what I am saying is that I am very proud of each and every one of you. Even if the world did not take note, I assure you that our Heavenly Father did, and I cannot help but imagine that He is proud of you. Well done, my good and faithful Blackwell! I love you!