When Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on our Houston suburb of Katy, everything I had secretly feared happened.
We didn’t sleep night after night because of tornadoes; we watched with terror as the homes of many (many!) dear friends flooded . . . and with no flood insurance; our home was in a mandatory evacuation area—yet we were trapped inside by rising water.
But in the face of these nightmares, we have seen kindness that surpasses understanding. I’m not only talking about the millions of dollars that corporations and local celebrities have donated to flood victims. The truly remarkable love is the soft-heartedness of regular families.
My Facebook feed has changed from soccer pictures and political debates to “crew posts.” As in, “We need a crew to muck out a house. Bring sledgehammers, crowbars, boots, and masks. We will bring volunteers in by boat.”
And yes, the volunteers have poured in by the boatload. They show up with borrowed tools. They are wearing masks to protect against the sheetrock dust, spreading mold, and sewage stench.
It’s not just the local football teams coming to save furniture. It’s senior citizens and kids so young they pretend tearing out rotting dry wall is a battle with the Death Star. Lawyers are swinging sledgehammers and moms are slopping through mud in bright pink rain boots.
Although these are the pictures that make it on Instagram, there are thousands more serving in quieter ways. Many, many hands are grilling hot dogs and passing out lunches. Our local schools and churches are distributing the truckloads of donations that pour in from congregations all over the country.
When a friend described the amount of gift cards and food arriving for our community, he said, “We are flooded with love.”
This ironic phrase best describes Hurricane Harvey. God’s love absolutely prevails in one million ways . . . our tired hands that keep serving in the name of Jesus, our hearts that have been tenderized by the love of the Spirit, and our minds that freshly understand that even in this (especially in this) God’s promises stand firm.
In the midst of losing everything, God has shown us what we really have. As National Guard tanks protect still-flooded neighborhoods, we realize that no looters could take the security we have through Christ. In losing our stuff, God has shown us it was so temporary anyway. In becoming uncomfortable, we understand that our true comfort comes from our loving Father.
Thanks to the overwhelming service from the Body of Christ, everything looks different now.
When I look at our soggy city, I see a new truth.
We are washed in mercy.
We are submerged in kindness.
We are waterlogged in grace.
We are flooded with love.