“Where is your faith in God?” That was the question posed to me by my husband as the news continued to report the status of water being released from the two reservoirs near our home. The combination of 50 inches of rain dumped on Houston by Hurricane Harvey and water releasing from two nearby reservoirs resulted in the entrance to our neighborhood becoming a lake. Over the period of a couple of days that lake formed tributaries, one of which was flowing onto our street.
Stories were circulating about people rescued in boats from the neighborhood across the road from us. The water at our entrance was already deep enough that rescue boats were coming in where I normally walk our dog. So far the water wasn’t up to our home. Yet. I was not convinced it stay that way.
Where was my faith?
So where was my faith, I wondered. Tom was as calm as a happy clam, securely ensconced in his recliner keeping an eye on the nonstop news coverage about what happening all around us.
I debated reminding him of the story about the man who turned down help when the floodwaters approached because he trusted God would save him. Later he declined to get in the rescue boat because he trusted that God was going to rescue him. Finally he declined help from the helicopter pilot when the water had driven him up to the roof. Again he was sure God would save him. So when he had his entrance interview in heaven he demanded to know why God hadn’t rescued him. God told him he tried to rescue him – three times.
I decided repeating that story at the height of the “We should leave” versus “We should stay” conversation probably wouldn’t help.
Faith Found in the Shower
Ironically I figured out where my faith was in water of a shower. It was this. God gave me a brain and life experience to know that rising moving water is not good for my safety or sanity. And God has given me a network of family and friends offering places to be far away from the aftermath of Harvey. I intended to take one of them up on their offer.
It turned out he was right. We did not flood, though some forty neighbors around the corner did. However, before the effects of Harvey progressed to the point we could know that we would not flood, I left and he stayed. This is not how every couple would handle the situation but it was what worked out best for us. I was only gone about twenty-four hours. But I returned considerably less stressed than when I left. And, while away I was able to buy supplies that had become scares commodities in Houston.
So where IS God in a disaster?
So where IS God in a disaster? First let’s consider where God is NOT. I do not believe God sends storms and other disasters to punish or teach lessons. One can make a case that God does do that from some select portions of Scripture. The Scriptures were written many centuries ago and that is what people back then and there understood about the world. Science has since revealed to us insights about nature that were unknown in Biblical times. I categorically reject the premise that God causes catastrophes.
I believe God is present in the midst of a disaster through the people who rush in to rescue. The evidence is everywhere. There are the first responders who work for agencies and organizations charged with doing search and rescue missions. But there are also total strangers who see a need and dash in to help in whatever ways they can.
In the next few blogs I’ll pass along some of the amazing ways I’ve seen people of passion respond to disasters. Mr. Fred Rogers said it best, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
That is also where you’ll find God in the midst of a disaster. Where is God? With the helpers.