To say the past month has been a blur would be an understatement. The days on my calendar started to melt together as soon as Hurricane Harvey passed through and left destruction in its wake. And yet, in spite of the long days of fielding dozens of disaster-related phone calls and hundreds of emails a day, the past month has illustrated what it is that Christ-followers do best.
I love Jesus and I love my neighbors and our community. One of the hallmarks of Jesus’ life is that He always moved in the direction of people in need — and, by so doing, made a difference in their lives. As soon as Harvey hit our area our Katy churches followed the example of Jesus and swiftly moved in the direction of people in need.
From the early days when I had the opportunity to assist with boat rescues to coordinating lots of disaster related work and connecting resources with need, the most obvious take away is this — good and selfless neighboring is What makes America great and what shows a hurting community the beauty of Jesus.
Did we do a lot of good? Absolutely! Did we get everything right? No. As with all major initiatives that serve thousands in times of crisis, there are always things we miss. And there are always things we wish we could fix with just a wave of the hand. But, that’s not how things work in times of crisis. It really is hard work meeting needs.
Rescuing folks stranded in their homes by boat, for example, took hours rather than minutes per household. The same holds true for mucking out homes and distributing clothing and other supplies and feeding people and more. Volunteers worked countless — and I do mean way too many hours to count — hours helping folks in need in so many ways. But because they did, needs were met one by one.
It’s been weeks and the work is still not over yet. Teams are still mucking out homes, trash piles are being slowly addressed, people are waiting on insurance and federal resources to start the rebuilding process, resources are still being distributed, people who lost vehicles are trying to figure out transportation, and so much more. But, the day will come when everyone impacted by Harvey will look back on all this and finally breathe a sigh of relief.
And the day will come when folks look back on all of this and remember those who moved in their direction at their time of need — the guys in the boat, the muck-out crews, the volunteers who distributed clothing and food, to name a few. Hopefully we will all remember what united us and refuse to make room in our hearts for the things that tend to separate us.
I am proud of our churches, the non-profits in our community, and all of the good people who lived out the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, we all witnessed dangerous unselfishness on display. Like the Good Samaritan, folks asked the right question, “What will happen to that person in need if I fail to move in their direction to help.”