Houston holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my husband and I bought our first home; it’s where my daughter was born and I became a mother; it’s where I have the best kind of friends – those who are like family. So, when we moved from Houston to Louisiana in January 2017, I couldn’t bring myself to say a proper goodbye to a place that meant so much to me.
As Hurricane Harvey poured over the Houston area for days, I knew that I shouldn’t just sit back and watch the devastation on every TV network and “sad face” my friends’ posts on social media about having water in their homes and being rescued by boat.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to serve others, to bear one another’s burdens. I was compelled to do just that, not for some self-righteous reason, but for His glory.
So, I asked some friends from The Field Church in Mandeville, LA if they wanted to join us on a relief trip in just three days. The trip quickly began to take shape on our end, but I could tell that all of the churches and charity organizations in the Houston area were inundated with calls for help and calls to help.
Having spent some time working as a communications associate at St. Luke’s, I knew I could connect our team there and that they would have a community of people working together, sacrificing their sleep and sanity to make sure the people of Houston were getting the help they needed. I connected with Alice King way past working hours at 10:30 p.m. She, Katie Montgomery Mears and the outreach team were working to establish guidelines for volunteers, while the communications team was creating forms and updating website and social media information by the minute. I knew St. Luke’s would have it together. This wasn’t their first major community outreach project – they are known for helping people.
It took our team nearly 12 hours to get from the New Orleans area to Houston last Friday, so needless to say, we were eager to get to work on Saturday. Like many of you, we spent the entire weekend boxing, packing and mucking houses. We were covered in dirt and our noses were a little stuffy. Yet, it was the most fulfilling weekend I have had in a while because I was serving as the hands and feet of Christ. We came together to help strangers simply because they needed help and we are called to help. It is truly a remarkable and invigorating feeling waking up the next day with sore legs, sore arms, sore feet, but with a heart so full it could burst.
In times like these, many people lose hope in God. That’s because sometimes God’s sovereignty is hard to see through the suffering. It is my prayer that God’s power and sovereignty shines through the good work being done by neighbors, friends, and even strangers. I love this quote by John Piper from his book, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.
“The evil and suffering in this world are greater than any of us can comprehend. But evil and suffering are not ultimate. God is. Satan, the great lover of evil and suffering, is not sovereign. God is.”
The recovery is just beginning for some people this week. I encourage you to sign up to volunteer to help someone clean out their home, wash their dirty clothes, or make them a home cooked meal. As followers of Jesus, knowing that God is sovereign through the good and bad, we should lead the way to rebuild and restore our neighbors’ lives in Houston.