Recently, my home state of Texas has been in the news a lot. The devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to Texas and surrounding states has been both a tragedy and an unexpected blessing. As a native Texan, it was difficult to watch at times, especially seeing the images of my hometown of Houston. Friends and family sent me pictures of the streets I used to drive down, places I used to frequent, and even Churches where I worshipped, under water from the storm. Luckily, my family and close friends were all safe and survived the storm; some with only minor water damage.
The blessing that has come out of the tragedy has been the outpouring of support and the ways in which the communities have come together for the cleanup effort and rebuilding. Right after the storm hit many people who knew I was from Houston kept asking me “how is Houston?” My response always was: “Houston will be ok.” I wasn’t trying to downplay the devastation of the storm. I was just confident in the strength and spirit of Texans.
As I explained to people, two things we have a lot of in Texas are large trucks and fishing boats. These two things became essential during the storm in helping out neighbors in need. A few of these stories made it on national news, but I watched even more play out on my own social media feed as numerous people posted in need of help, and their requests were quickly answered by someone with a truck or a boat helping them to safety.
Not only is Texas prepared with the right tools but we also have a spirt that can’t really be explained. The Texas spiritu includes an attitude of hospitality, and a willingness to help out anyone in need. The biggest blessing in this disaster can be seen in strangers helping strangers, Church communities gathering supplies and going out into the community, as well as financial support from all over the country to help in the rebuilding efforts. It has been difficult for me watching from afar, wanting to do so much more, when right now I can only offer prayers and support.
As we look back on the first days of the hurricane, knowing that many have moved on to new things, it is important to reflect on what we saw. The message of Hurricane Harvey and of #TexasStrong and #HoustonStrong is really the message of the cross. A Christians, we know that even the worst tragedy, disaster or evil, can bring something good. What should have been the greatest evil, the crucifixion of the Son of God, became the greatest good: the opening of the gates of Heaven to all.
We can get caught up in asking God questions of why would he allow this to happen, or we can look at this tragedy and recognize that God allows things to happen so that an even greater good can come from it. We saw this play out right before us. The amazing outpouring of support for Texas and the surrounding areas reminds us that there is still a lot of good in this world.
The bigger question is: why do we wait for tragedy before we answer the call to help others? What if we came together for other causes like homelessness, poverty, and feeding the hungry? What would we be able to accomplish? If we take the #TexasStrong spirit and hospitality into our everyday lives. we can change the world.