The catastrophic images from Texas bring back painful personal memories from 1999 when Hurricane Floyd flooded our home in Eastern North Carolina. Carson and Sara, who were four and two years-old at the time, were rescued by boat, while Lori and I stayed behind to put more of our things into the attic. We spent the next three months living in a FEMA camper in the driveway of our decimated home.
In the days the water receded, I remember being overwhelmed with feelings of despair. We had only lived in our home for six weeks prior to the flood. It was the first home we ever owned, and we had yet to make our first mortgage payment. Because we did not have flood insurance, rebuilding our home seemed impossible. I cannot recall any other time in my life when I felt more hopeless. If ever I needed divine help, it was then.
Thankfully, help from God came. Every week help came. Help came bringing pry bars, hammers and saws to rip out carpet, pull up flooring, tear out sheetrock and pull out wet insulation. Help came bringing new flooring, sheetrock, and insulation. Help came with paintbrushes and paint.
Help also came bringing what we needed the most: hope. Help came with a message that rebuilding our home was possible. Help came with the good news that although we could not go back to the good old days before the flood, with the help of God, we could go forward into good new days.
The movie All Saints, which is now playing in theaters, is a true story of the All Saints Episcopal Church of Smyrna, Tennessee. The church was preparing to close their doors for good and sell their property when a group of refugees from war-torn Southeast Asia showed up.
In one scene, the teenage son of Rev. Spurlock asks his father about the fate of the refugees if he decides to allow the church to close.
Rev. Spurlock responds: “We must pray and ask God to help them.”
His son replies: “Dad, aren’t you God’s help?”
The people of East Texas need our prayers. However, when we pray for God to help them, may we remember that we are God’s help.
Today, we can be divine help by sending our dollars to Texas by giving to the mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at http://www.weekofcompassion.org. You can designate 100% of your gifts to help communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.
In the days, weeks, and months to come, we will have opportunities to be divine help by sending ourselves, bringing tools and building materials. More importantly, we will have opportunities to be divine help by bringing what these people need now more than anything else: hope.
We will have opportunities to go with the good news, that with the help of God, although it seems impossible, good new days are indeed ahead.