All across Texas, we have felt the impact and aftermath of the worst natural disaster in the history of this state. Ten million Texans were affected and despite all the recovery efforts, it’s estimated that somewhere between 400,000 and 600,000 Texans still remain homeless, living with friends, in hotels, rented houses, and some continuing to seeking shelter.
In spite of the devastation and negative outcomes of the hurricane, there are important things I know Harvey has done for Texas and our Nation. First, it reminded us of one of the greatest directives God has given us, to love our neighbor as ourselves. We’ve witnessed neighbor helping neighbor all across Texas and well beyond the areas affected. While working in the flood distribution center in Conroe, I met a family who loaded up everything they knew that was needed, threw it in the car, and drove nonstop from Odessa, TX. They learned about our distribution center on Facebook and didn’t hesitate to assist, saying, “God bless you!” as they turned around to head back. First Responders and eighteen-wheeler after eighteen-wheeler barreled down the long stretches of highway from every state, headed to Conroe, Houston, Rockport, Beaumont and so many other areas throughout Texas.
We saw churches, synagogues, temples and mosques of our area become more than just a building to visit twice a week. They became living entities… the hands and feet of God bringing food and needed supplies, providing shelter for those who lost everything, becoming more than a place of worship, but a home for the displaced. People all across the nation loved others as they love themselves, having sincere empathy, considering how they would feel in the same situation. They sacrificed and blessed those they didn’t know. Thousands of Enforcement, Fire Fighters, EMS, Soldiers, County, State and Federal government employees were working around the clock to save lives, many of them not knowing if their own families and property were safe.
With all the division in our country, God showed us with one act of nature that He is still the master of every storm. Whether we go through hurricanes, fires, earthquakes or famine, either in this world or deep in our souls, God is the master of every circumstance and difficult situation in our lives.
What Harvey taught us, or perhaps just reminded us, is to love our neighbors. Having so much immediate need to be met because of Harvey’s destruction helped us all experience the joy that comes from giving such charity and service. I hope this reminder generates a love and passion for service to our neighbors that lasts years beyond Harvey’s attack. May we remember that houses and churches are just buildings unless we go outside the four walls and do His work. I hope we experience spiritual renewal and revival in Texas, our nation, and the world as one of the long-term effects of the hurricane.
We are all on a directed path, and in the path of life, it’s important we always keep moving forward. We should never retreat from the provision, the purpose, and power in the plan that God has for us. We must always continue to move forward, no matter what adversity comes… no matter what the storm looks like, or what it’s called.
We need to remember to always love our neighbor as ourselves, even when the winds don’t blow and homes aren’t lost. When we are serving others, in actuality, we are serving ourselves. It’s the law of the harvest…. You reap what you sow! God bless every Texan that stood up to love their neighbor as themselves. God bless every citizen of this great nation that gave time and talent to the needs around them. May God always bless each and every citizen of this world as we rise up to love each other in our times of need. #TexasStrong #UnitedTexas #GodBlessTexas #GodBlessAmerica
Wayne L. Mack, author of The Directed Path: Using God’s Compass