Houston, We See Your Fruits
I grew up in Houston. As a kid, I went to the 'dome, watched the Oilers, and spent lots of time in the gulf. My family is there and my roots are there.
Right now, my heart is there.
Here in North Texas, it's clear and cool and sunny. I go about my day like any other, except it all feels wrong. I know my birthplace is getting hammered and her people are struggling. I thought about loading up a kayak in my truck and heading south, but given that the National Guard has arrived, my contribution would be laughable at this moment. What I can do, and have done, is one thing: pray. Pray for the rain to go away and pray for the water to recede. I know God hears me and I know he's working, not only in the circumstances of the storm–but also in the hearts of Houstonians (I'm including all cities within the storm when I say "Houston"–Rockport, Galveston, Katy, etc.).
When disaster strikes, it intensifies the character of the people within it. War, famine, and yes, storms bring out the best and worst in people. Though I know there's plenty of bad, I have seen a lot of good thus far in the people responding to Harvey.
If you form your reality by the news, you'll be a crazy person. While I've seen a lot of news over the past several days and it has undoubtably formed part of my reality, I'm getting lots of information from people on the ground. Here's what I'm hearing about:
- Neighbors rescuing neighbors
- Optimism and faith as the waters lap at thresholds
- Overtime hours at hospitals
- Companies using their money and people to serve
- Public servants working themselves to the bone
What we're really seeing are the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Now I'm no pollyanna. I know we're seeing plenty of bad too but that's the nature of duplicitous humans. The bad comes with the good. And I'm just saying, from my little tiny viewpoint, I'm seeing a beautiful response.
For many, it appears a renewed perspective on life has emerged from the flood waters. I must grant, by the way, that the goodness is not exclusively Christian. People of various faiths or no faith have come together and will come together in the days to come. But what I see in the bright spots in this dark storm is the face of my dear Savior, Jesus Christ. It all reminds me of him. I see his hands and feet and I see his power and mercy and I believe the waters of this storm contain his sympathetic tears.
If God is good, how can he let such horrible things happen to people? How? Is he powerless or is he disinterested? Which is it? It is neither, my friend. I know that's hard to reckon with and I don't have it all filed away in neat folders in my brain, either. But I know that God is good and he is sovereign over everything. I know this broken world, which was made so by our sins, can be a nasty place. I know that in my darkest times God comes through with an unexpected ending which leaves me awestruck at his goodness and mercy. And that is where Houston is headed, one way or another. God will have his way and he will show up in great power and glory.
Finally, to all my Houston (read: southeast Texas) peeps: I love you. I am praying for you and you are on my mind. The waters will recede and even if they don't, hang on to the One who once walked on water.