Lessons From Harvey

The floods in southeast Texas have really been on my mind the last few days. I am actually from Texas. While I was raised by grandparents in Nacogdoches Texas, 90% of my family lives in the Houston area. I also trained to become an evangelist in Beaumont Texas.

In addition to my family, millions of people in southeast Texas have been hit hard by the effects of Hurricane Harvey. My aunt (who works in Harris County) finally was able to make it back home Monday. She was stuck at work for two full days! Since her car is almost under water, she decided to take a chance and walk home yesterday morning. Thankfully, a nice couple picked her up and drove her as far as they could. Once they reached a severely flooded area, she hopped out of the car and walked the rest of the way.

Several people in Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur are trapped in their homes. They have been waiting for days to be rescued. Due to constant rain and flooding, so many have lost their homes, cars, businesses, and some cases, even their lives!

Storms have a way of teaching us several lessons in life. Here are some I have been reminded of over the past few days.

  • Material possessions are temporary. They can be here today and gone tomorrow! This time last month, many people in southeast Texas were living comfortably in their homes. They had their cars to take them where they wanted to go. They had a nice bed to sleep in and a stove to cook their food on. Now, they don’t. They have been forced from their homes; their cars are under water; and they are currently sleeping in a shelter somewhere. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19 still hold true 2,000 years later! This is why we must always store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20-21). Those treasures can never be destroyed.
  • There is only so much we can control. Storms have a way of reminding us of this. So often we think we have full control in our lives. That is faulty thinking! One thing we can never control is the weather. Sometimes in life, we are hit with catastrophes beyond our control. We can prepare for things the best we can, but the rest is in God’s hands.
  • There are still a lot of good people in the world. You wouldn’t know it if you had been watching the news prior to Harvey. Before Harvey, all we could hear on the news was people talking about racism and division. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that America was full of people who couldn’t stand one another! It took a storm, for people to stop talking about racism. Now the only thing that matters is human life. People of all races throughout southeast Texas are helping one another. Many are risking their lives and sacrificing their possessions to help others survive. That is the way people are supposed to be towards one another. We all need to love our neighbor and treat others like we want to be treated (Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 7:12).
  • Our problems must be put into perspective. So often, I act as though my problems are the worst in the world. If something small isn’t going my way, I complain and act as though it is the end of the world. This storm has reminded me of just how wrong I am. Now, I truly realize that my problems are minor compared to the problems of those in Texas at this time. I still have my home. I am not living in a shelter right now. I still have my car. My wife and children have soft beds to sleep in tonight. I am so blessed compared to so many suffering right now. In the big scheme of things, my problems are very small.
  • Prayer is important. Do you want to know what you can do right now for the people suffering from Hurricane Harvey? You can take a couple of minutes and pray for them right now. God always hears the prayers of His people and He is well able to help those in need (James 5:16b). The people in Texas being hurt by this storm need your prayers desperately.

Storms come and go in life. Soon this storm will be over, but God and His word will still remain (Hebrews 13:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25). When we always keep our minds focused on that, no matter what storms comes our way, we will be able to endure them and come out stronger than before.

– Shawn Jeffries

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