Hurricane Harvey Hit My City
Hurricane Harvey Hit My City
By Sara Terry
Hurricane Harvey hit my city this weekend. My heart goes out to everyone in Houston and around Texas who are scared and injured, grieving and suffering unimaginable loss.
I left on the Thursday before for a college girlfriend reunion and work trip thinking I was missing a quiet, rainy weekend with my husband, full of movies and books and cabin fever. Instead, my husband, friends, and community suffered devastating flooding and are still living in so much uncertainty and chaos.
I cannot shake the pit in my stomach. I can feel the tears stinging my eyes. How could this happen?
When tragedy hits, the first thing I lose is my sense of security. For the majority of my life, I am able to function under the impression that I am in control. It appears that my decisions go to plan and my work reaps its expected rewards. There are relatively clear lines of causation between my actions and my circumstances.
I work to maintain this sense of control in all parts of my life. I try to control what others think of me in the hope that they will admire me and love me. I push myself to the limit and put myself in the right places so that I can be successful and respected.
When I allow myself to be lulled into believing that I am secure and in control, it is easy enough to have faith in a good God, in a God who provides and protects and cares for His children. I have evidence everywhere of His “goodness” (my definition, not His), especially from my seat of privilege.
Then Harveys hit, and I am faced with a fact of life: I am in control of so very little.
Remarkably, the constant hustle, the late nights, the worrying and fretting, the pretending and performing does little to control how successful, well thought of, and faithful I am. I know firsthand how toxic and addictive my efforts to control can be.
In times like this, fear quickly becomes my close companion, speaking doubt loudly into my thoughts, sitting heavy on my chest as the anxiety closes in.
Questions pop, pop like popcorn:
How do I function in a world where I feel so powerless? How do I step forward when the way is so unclear? How do I manage the fear when my sense of security and control are crumbling in my hands?
I have heard that faith and fear are opposites, and theologically, I agree. But today, as my heart is aching, I am challenged to figure out how fear and faith can dance together.
It would be unkind to myself—and it would be unkind to you—to recommend dispelling fear with faith. Houses are under water! Livelihoods are threatened! Loved ones have been lost or are in shock!
Today, fear is a natural manifestation of a sinful, fallen world, and I refuse to shame you or me into believing that fear is wrong, out of place, or faithless. Your fear can be real and appropriate even when your faith is rooted in the faithfulness of Christ. Your circumstances can be overwhelming even when your hope is anchored to the one whose character has stayed the same through the ages.
Here is the truth, brothers and sisters: We are children of God even as we live as pilgrims in another land. We are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, yet we are still wandering in the realm of death and darkness. We are ruled from the inside out by the Spirit of God Himself, but there is another, lesser spirit we see at work in this world.
Yet even in this storm, I remember another storm that obeyed the command of Jesus to be still.
Yet even in the loss, I remember God's mercy to me by sacrificing His own Son on the cross.
Yet even in the darkness, I remember how the world waited and held its breath as Jesus descended to hell to defeat death, once and for all.
I am thankful that my God came to a dark world to bring light and life. To my fellow believers in Houston and beyond, I pray we partner together for the restoration of this broken world to our mighty and merciful God.
Houston, we are with you!