This morning I woke up to find that my city was underwater.
It had been raining throughout the night, a restless pounding kind of rain, and the storm raged wildly outside my window. I was well aware of the fact that it was raining, and raining hard, but I had no idea just how quickly the water was rising.
We are used to some flooding here in Houston. Living in a city that is filled with bayous, creeks, and prone to Gulf Coast weather systems, flooding is a fact of life. We are used to hunkering down for hurricanes and nasty storms, but what happened today was for the most part unexpected.
This morning I turned my collar up and made a rush for the car as my wife and I tried to leave the neighborhood in the storm, but it soon became clear that we weren't going anywhere. Once back inside we turned on the TV (because if there is one thing that drives us all to a morning newscast, it is bad weather), and quickly realized that not only was it flooding all over town, it was flooding at historic levels.
Throughout the day I heard from friends who were dealing with much worse problems than my flooded street. Many of them were moving what they could to the second floor of their homes as water came in, and some were simply trying to get out of the house before it was to late to do so.
There is more water in these streets than I have ever seen, and there will be a lot of rebuilding to do before this is all over.
Today many people struggled through the waters that kept rising, rising, rising; wondering when there would be relief. Cars have been lost, homes have been lost, and precious lives have been lost. Today has left many wondering where they will go tonight and what life will look like tomorrow.
When we find ourselves engulfed in a raging flood, it can be easy to lose hope. It can be heartbreaking.
But this is where the Church rises up. When our communities are in need it is our opportunity to show the love of Christ in action, to offer help and kindness. I have seen the Church come together and act in response to disaster time and time again, and I know that this time will be no different. Eventually these waters will recede, but until then it will be a difficult journey for many, and as it is with any disaster, life afterwards may never be quite the same as it was yesterday.
In the midst of this storm, I am reminded of God's provision through water. I am reminded of the disciples filled with fear on the stormy sea, fearing for their very lives, and I remember Jesus calming those waters around them.
We find ourselves today engulfed in deep water, but this is not all that engulfs us. Even on bright sunny days, we are a people engulfed in fear. We are engulfed in debt. We are engulfed in failure. We are engulfed in unfulfilled expectations, we are engulfed in doubt, and we are engulfed in a lack of hope. These leave us with no foothold, and up to our necks. But in Christ these do not leave us without hope.
Life will give us moments that leave us engulfed up to our necks in water and mud. But it is clear that the God who created us and loves us never leaves us without hope. "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-25
However deep the flood we find ourselves sinking in, there is hope, because our God is a God of hope. Time and time again, throughout the ages He cares for those of us are hopeless, and He fills us with the hope and peace only He can give.
Tonight, I pray in earnest for those who are engulfed in the deep waters, pray that they would hold on to that hope, and pray that all of us would cry out to God and find hope in Him in the midst of all that engulfs us.