The familiar houses are hidden behind mounds of debris that just last week carried lifetimes of memories. Like the couch where my sister and I curled up with a bowl of popcorn then argued over which television show to watch, the soft afghan you would find my mom cuddled under as she drank her morning coffee, or the toys my parents saved from my childhood that now my kids enjoy just as much as I once had.
All of it piled up. House after house, looking more like a war zone than the friendly suburb where I grew up.
Then there are others in my community whose heart aches even deeper because they have lost loved ones, swept away by floods that invaded us under the darkness of night and brought to some not just destruction, but death.
Constant reminders of the crisis are at every turn. Make shift medical clinics treating the wounded, bare shelves at the store where bread and eggs belong, driveways filled with extra cars where neighbors are sheltering family and friends.
In all the despair, it's easy to wonder Why would God allow this to happen? Such suffering? Such pain?
Then on Tuesday, August 29th early in the morning, the rains began to fall. The clock was the only indication that the sun had risen. It set that evening without ever having the opportunity to make itself known to my little corner of the world. Dark clouds pouring torrential storms blocked its light and continued into the night. The water rose until my son was convinced that our road was no longer a street, but a river. The rain beat so loudly on our roof that you had to sit closely to one another to converse. Then at 1:45am, deep into the night my phone rang. I answered it quickly. I was still awake. The whole town was. No one could sleep. We were under attack by Hurricane Harvey.
It was my friend. I could barely hear her shaky voice choked with tears.
"The water is getting close. I'm scared. I think I need that peace you told me about," she cried
We prayed together, and she surrendered her heart to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the Lord who the wind and waves obey, the Lord who binds up the broken hearted. In the middle of the storms that raged, she found peace.
She is why God allowed Hurricane Harvey. She is the proof that God is always victorious, in every circumstance. There is nothing that He allows to happen that is not for the good of His people.
There have been countless others like her in Southeast Texas this week. Some take the form of those who, like her, sought God in their moments of desperation, maybe as they were being lifted by a helicopter over the raging waters or as they searched anxiously for family members who had been separated by a frantic evacuation. Some received Him when they discovered a strength they didn't know they had. They braved the waters to pull neighbors from the rising floods and realized their bravery could only come from a loving God. And some watched as a friend endured the trials of this week with a hope they longed for. When they asked about the source of hope, they learned the answer was Jesus.
God loves each one of us so much. I think she alone would have been enough for God to send a hurricane if it meant one more of His precious children would spend eternity with Him in heaven. But I'm pretty sure she isn't alone.
How has God proven His love and power in your life this week? Tell me about it.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.