It’s amazing what you can ‘Google’ and learn with a few key strokes.
The fast Google fact I just obtained is that Johannesburg, South Africa is 9,004 miles away from Houston, Texas. This is a significant distance between one continent, one country, and one city and the other. Yet, because of the catastrophic amount of rain that has fallen on Houston and the cities and towns nearby, the human theater that is dramatically unfolding in that part of the world because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey has reached my heart in Africa.
What has impressed me, like so many in the world, about this incomprehensible situation is how the people of Houston and its surrounding areas have literally extended their hearts and hands to one another with saving grace in the midst of ruinous heartbreak.
The people of Houston have shown the world a great lesson.
When properly united, the faith, the hope, and the love of people – regardless of race, regardless of social class, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of you-name-it – can regenerate the human spirit.
They have shown us how to live out the words of 1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The union of these three graces – faith, hope, and love – invites and entertains the presence of God.
We are seeing true faith in the hearts and lives of an emboldened people. Thousands are putting others ahead of themselves – lifting them out of the water – to life. Granted, there will be countless, individual stories that will unfold as a result of this storm – and some will not be good. They will be devastating. They are devastating.
However, in the midst of this time, we are seeing the faith of man at work. We are observing the labor of love demonstrated. We are encouraged by the hope that endures even as the flood waters surge and ultimately recede.
I do not know if everyone in this part of the world has a transformational faith in Jesus Christ. However, what is happening is not to be ignored. Their example of faith, hope, and love has deep impact. For they that love Jesus Christ are willing to suffer as Jesus did – no matter the cost – to bring Him honor and praise. They seek to impact their fallen, flooded world with His incomprehensible love.
The people of Houston’s hands and hearts are full as they employ themselves in life-saving, life-giving, hope-inspired work. They didn’t ask for Harvey to unleash its wrath upon their region. Nor did they ask that their lives be lashed with catastrophic flooding that would damage or destroy nearly 200,000 of their precious homes. No one would.
Yet, their affection and good will for their neighbor has shown them to be a people with an admirable, hope-filled faith.
We need to pray for them.
We need to help them in tangible ways.
We need to remember them – this is going to be a long, long, long journey of restoration.
Here are four ways to assist:
Salvation Army. To make a financial donation, visit www.helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1.800.SAL ARMY, or text STORM to 51555.
Samaritan’s Purse. To make a financial donation, visit https://www.samaritanspurse.org/disaster/hurricane-harvey/
Undies for Everyone. To make a financial donation, visit https://www.undiesforeveryone.org/
World Vision. To make a financial donation, visit https://donate.worldvision.org/hurricane-harvey-disaster-relief
May the people of Houston be an example to us all – to faith, to hope, and to love.
We cannot ignore the amazing love and care we have observed in a people who have experienced adversity in catastrophic proportions – no, we cannot ignore – and we must follow their example into our own lives. There are countless stories unfolding in our sphere of influence and throughout the world.
In Uganda, over one million Sudanese refugees have entered the country. A refugee crisis is not just looming, it is upon us.
Flooding in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal in the past week have killed thousands of people and displaced over a million people.
Have you heard about these costly, heart-breaking human dramas?
Sometimes, we don’t know what has unfolded in other parts of the world.
Honestly how often do we see images of hope or read stories of inspiration like we have received from Houston from Africa?
They are there.
We’re just unaware of them. And honestly, there are times that we just don’t know what to do about this onslaught of human suffering.
A practical thing we can do is to learn more and see how we can help.
Samaritan’s Purse offers information about what is happening in Africa as one example: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/
One of the central themes of all that is going on is that we live in a fallen, entropic world. The depravity of man is apparent. And the fact of the matter is that we cannot control the weather, the atmosphere, or the geographical conditions that surround us. Famine, droughts, hurricanes and flooding events show us how small and powerless we truly are – except in one significant way.
We can extend our hand and our hearts to others.
Ask yourself these questions:
Who can I offer my hand in generosity?
Who can I pull out of the waters of despair?
Who can I lift up with mercy and grace?
Who can I hold with comfort?
Who can I encourage with joy?
Who can I reach with the faith, hope, and love of Christ?
Did someone come to mind?
If yes, start there!
Start right there with this precious soul and do not ignore that thought!
In so doing, you will show yourself to be a neighbor of good will, faith, hope, and love. You will show yourself to be a friend.
And that’s important.
We all could use a good friend right now.
Let it be you and me!
Harvey photo retrieved from Google Search
Sudan photo retrieved from VenturesAfrica