Of Biblical proportions

Hurricane Harvey. We will never forget you.

Six days after making landfall, we are still watching live rescues of people on their roofs, some with beloved dogs in their arms. At this time, 35 people have been confirmed dead due to the hurricane’s flooding rains. Six of those include a family of two great grandparents and four of their great grandchildren between the ages of 6-16. The tragedies that we have witnessed are unimaginable and unforgettable.

Some folks can no longer watch this unfolding situation. Me, I must watch it. I am spiritually required to watch as much as I can because I am a teller of stories. Why did I walk into the Rodney King riot-torn area two days after the fires and destruction started? Because I am a teller of stories. Why did I agree to watch a man be put to death in the Arizona Department of Correction’s Death House? Because I am a teller of stories. The same thing is happening with Hurricane Harvey. I am a teller of stories and this story is huge.

But this story is not only about families being washed away, a child clinging to her drowned mother or a young man being electrocuted while trying to save his sister. These tragedies cannot be understated. That said, this huge story with these heartbreaking endings also comes with an opportunity from God.

An opportunity from God?

What? How could this be?

Some people may be blaming God for this disaster but God is giving countless people the chance to place Him firmly in their hearts and to allow Jesus to deliver to them beauty for ashes.

Beauty for ashes? What?

Had I not recently experienced my own personal year-long hurricane, I don’t know that I could understand what I just said. Beauty for ashes is kind of another way of describing a silver lining and during the storm, silver linings are hard to come by. It is after our storms calm that we see these silver linings; that beauty for ashes.

When there is crisis and heartache, a person can make one of two choices: Blame God or Embrace God. I know this because I spent years in my own stubborn frame of mind, not believing how much God loved me. Imagine how much time I wasted thinking I knew more than God. Thankfully I only wasted 19 years thinking this way. But in my deepest darkest hours, Jesus reminded me of how much He loved me, how much He wanted to bless me with His favor, how He wanted to protect my heart and how He wanted me to obey His commands and walk in lockstep with Him.

There is a lot of God going on

It takes time and effort to recover from a hurricane, whether it is internal or external. I am not fully recovered but I am well on my way with hope and light in front of me. Those caught in the crossfire of Hurricane Harvey now have a choice to make: Blame God or Embrace God and some of you readers to this blog who are not in the storm also have the same choice to make in your lives. Blame God for your circumstances or embrace God so that He can bring joy and peace to your lives.

The silver lining to Harvey is how God has already been witnessed. I heard God mentioned by name by humans on TV all last night (Wednesday, Aug. 30). How about the tireless Texas residents making rescues all day long for days on end? How about people who purchased boats just to go to the flooded areas to save lives? How about people allowing strangers to live in their houses? How about all the volunteers at shelters? How about the money and other needs that have already been donated?

There is a LOT of God going on out there right now. And those who have lost, now have an opportunity to receive so much more than what is gone. How about for starts gaining a better attitude and greater faith? Those who lost humans and pets, God will bring you peace when you let him if you have not already. No one can explain away these kinds of losses. They are heart wrenching and I pray for these folks with all my heart.

Let us pray

Right at this moment, as I am writing, an official proclamation as a day of prayer has been professed in Rockport, Texas, where the eye of Hurricane Harvey struck six days ago.

So today I want to pray for the people of Texas. Lord Jesus, I ask you to wrap yourself around Texas and its citizens and to give them strength and peace. Show them your unwavering love and provide safety and shelter for everyone who has been displaced and the Holy Spirit for those who have lost loved ones. Protect first responders and everyone who is trying to save others. I pray for their patience while the recovery process takes place. In Jesus’ name, we praise you and I pray for all you who are reading as well. Amen.

P.S. If you haven’t already, please donate to this gigantic relief effort. There are a number of legitimate organizations collecting money, such as the Red Cross, the United Way, Lakewood Church and the Humane Society of the United States. Do not tell yourself you cannot afford to donate. Yes, you CAN afford it and you need to do it.





  1. Mary Ellen Kun

    Thanks for bringing the attention of those who are suffering to all of us enjoying our way of life. Unless you have been in one of these storms you can’t truly imagine what it is like. I was living in Jacksonville Beach, FL, part of WW2 and a storm became so bad that everyone was evacuated to schools in Jacksonville for 2 days. The damage wasn’t from water but sand. The inside of the houses looked like pictures of the dust bowl days. Sand was banked halfway up the windows on the inside of the house as well as outside. Unless containers had screw on lids the sand somehow worked it’s way inside.
    The sand had penetrated every thing. Stoves, refrigerators, radios etc had to be thrown away. That was nothing when you stop to think that houses are being washed away as are people. That was a beautiful prayer Janet. We need to repeat it as well as giving thanks to God that we have been spared from the disaster taking place as we speak.

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