Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane, came ashore in Rockport, Texas on August 26. It is the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the continuous United States (Wikipedia). Some areas have received nearly 52” of rain (washingtonpost.com). No part of Harris County has received less than 20” of rain (nytimes.com). It had rained an estimated 24.5 trillion gallons of water, as of the morning of August 30 (washingtonpost.com). [The Chesapeake Bay contains about 18 trillion gallons (ibid). If 20 trillion gallons were piled over the District of Columbia the height of the water would be 1,410 feet, almost the height of the Empire State Building (ibid).] It is forecast to continue to rain through August 31. Some 779,000 Texans have been ordered to evacuate their homes and another 980,000 have fled on their own (yahoo.com). My aunt and uncle, who had been stranded in their flooded home in Orange, Texas, were rescued today, August 31, by some kind souls from Oklahoma, who had come down to help.
Here are a few thoughts that I have from Harvey…
1. There are kind people in this world.
If one listen only to the 24-hour cable news channels, one likely, will have a very negative outlook. Rarely, is anything good reported. It is all about wrongs, and divisions. The country is racially divided. It is politically divided. It is about to erupt in anarchy, civil war, or violence at any moment.
It is true that there is much evil in this world. It is true that sin reigns in this world.
However, it is also true that there are kind souls in this world. Kind people from Oklahoma, Louisiana, and as far away as New York came to help.
God wants us to help, as we have opportunity, those in need. We are to be as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
2. Kindness alone is not enough.
Cornelius was a kind man. He “gave alms generously to the people” (Acts 10:2). Yet, he was told “send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:13-14); “He will tell you what you must do” (Acts 10:6). Simon commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48).
The following things should not be overlooked. Every spiritual blessing is in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 7; 1 John 5:11). One gets into Christ by baptism (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3). “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
3. We should be zealous soul winners.
While listening to the news, I heard one reporter ask a man from another state why he was there, in Texas. He said that he was trying to help rescue as many as he could.
Are we? Do we care as much about spiritual salvation, as this man did about physical salvation? “Rescue the perishing, care for they dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save” (Song: Rescue the Perishing by Fanny Crosby). The early church “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Shouldn’t we?
4. News reports are not always accurate.
In Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.) airport, I heard a CNN report which said that the storm had come ashore pounding Rockport, Texas and Port Arkansas. This was said several times. Moreover, the news reader seemed to think that it was Port, Arkansas. In truth, it was Port Aransas, Texas. It is easy to understand how this mistake may have been made (misreading or mistyping).
However, there is a point to learn here, facts should be checked. This is true in everyday life. Too many repeat things that they’ve heard without fact-checking. This is true when it comes to the Biblical matters, and in the spiritual realm. Too many repeat things that they’ve heard without fact-checking. May we be as careful and caring as the Bereans, who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). May we, “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).