Hurricane Harvey. What some thought was going to be just another Texas hurricane turned into one of the worst hurricanes Texas has ever seen. This storm left hundreds of homes destroyed, hundreds more flooded, and the city of Houston practically underwater. I'm sure you've heard about this natural disaster, but I'm not sure that people quite understand the magnitude of the area affected. A picture has been floating around the internet explaining how Houston alone is home to 7 million people in a densely populated area of over 2,000 square miles. It claims the best way to understand this is imagining that the entire state of Delaware was underwater. Needless to say, this storm and the repercussions it has brought about, is significant.
This storm, and the floods succeeding it, are changing the lives of Houstonians. Many are evacuating, including my family. Some are choosing to stay to ride out what is to come in the next weeks and months. Others are forced to stay because the flooding is preventing them from leaving. Some are reliving the nightmare of their houses flooding less than two years ago. The houses of my friends and my house are filled with water. All are praying for the rain to cease. All are looking to help their neighbor. All are asking how this can be possible.
This ain't Texas's first rodeo when it comes to floods, hurricanes, and tornado warnings all at the same time, but this is more severe than anything Texas has seen in over a decade. Seeing the people and places I love going through this devastation broke my heart. In the midst of it all, I went back to the one unchanging, eternal shelter I have. That shelter is in Jesus Christ. "Fear not" is repeated in the bible at least 144 times. When this fear starts to overcome, all we can do is run towards the Father. Run towards all He has for you, and away from Satan's spirit of fear. When you decide to trust in God during the storms of this life, He will give you a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. In this time of trouble, here are some verses carrying me through:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,a neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Seeing and hearing about the tragedies occurring in Houston breaks my heart. Knowing that the homes and streets of the city I grew up in are destroyed makes my heart so heavy. This natural disaster had the power to destroy not only our beautiful city, but also the spirit of its residents. A storm like this has historically brought about looters and murderers, but the citizens of Houston are showing each other nothing but love. It is incredible seeing videos of Texans going out of their way to rescue those in need around them. These acts of love fill me with hope and pride in Texas. I am proud to be a Houstonian, and I am even prouder to be a Texan.
Texas has been through so much this week, and the disaster is far from over. Recovery will be a long road, but I have faith in our great state, and even more faith that our great God will see us through. I have no doubt that Houston will rebuild and come back stronger and closer than ever before. To those who have lost their houses or family members in this storm, my heart is heavy for y'all. Please know that you will make it, and the entire nation is rooting for you in this moment. To those who have so bravely rescued those in need, on behalf of all Houstonians, thank you for all you do. You make me proud to be a Texan. To those who have evacuated, it is ok to be filled with anxiety and uncertainty right now. I pray that when you are able to to return home, you find it as you left. Texas, your bravery, love for fellow Texans, and resilience will never fail to amaze me.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite worship songs, "I Will Praise You in this Storm". It's always reminded me that God is there no matter what we are going through. The lyrics proclaim God's glory even when the world seems to be crashing down all around me.
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
The God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
If you're looking to help (make sure to select Hurricane Harvey)
Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation
Direct Relief: https://secure.directrelief.org/site/Donation2;jse...
International Relief Teams: https://www.irteams.org/donate
South Texas Blood and Tissue: https://bloodntissuefoundation.org/give
Coalition for the Homeless: https://www.homelesshouston.org/take-action/donate...
Central Texas Food Bank: https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/get-involved/...
If you're looking for shelters in Houston and the surrounding areas:
North Shore 9th Grade Center
MO Campbell Center
Golden Acres Baptist Church
Dobie High School
Cinco Ranch High School
Morton Ranch High School
Key Middle School
Pasadena High School
Texas, stay strong, stay dry, stay safe. I love you with all of my heart.