Being a Houston native, I’ve experienced some aspect of my life in almost every part of Houston. We recently experienced a series of events triggered by the infamous Hurricane Harvey. This morning, a group of ladies I serve with gathered together for a time of prayer and worship. During this time, I envisioned a woman giving birth. I felt the pain of contractions and heard the woman scream due to the pain. It went on for a while and then suddenly it stopped and out was a newborn child. Hurricane Harvey was like a contraction or birthing pain that tormented many individuals. It was almost as if Texas went into labor. The birthing process is messy and unclean, but once the child comes out the mother only sees a beautiful baby. Similarly, Texas birthed a new city and from that, we saw the beauty of Houston.
Many may say they hate Harvey, but what many must recognize is that through Harvey, God was able to birth something new. Harvey caused great pain for many people, but upon its exit came a beautiful new city that set the tone for many cities, states, and nations. Houston showed that it embodies unity, hope, and value in humanity. As I sought the Lord during the storm, I saw a flower blossoming. Some may say there’s only a mess, but I saw God ready to raise up a new thing in and through Houston. Whether your house was destroyed or untouched, no one came out of this storm the same. During the storm, the heart of man was revealed, cleansed, purged, and replaced with the heart of God. We are having the Romans 8:28 experience:
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
Some may not be able to recognize the good that came from this, but I challenge you to adjust your perspective. From this storm, many have finally witnessed God’s love. For many, to hear you are loved meant nothing, but experiencing it has opened their eyes. Before this storm, the weight of the word love was not fully practiced. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 breaks down the meaning of love and when you truly assess yourself with this visual, you will realize that there are some areas that we have all fallen short in.
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
Personally, that is what I saw in my city for the first time EVER! For once, the color of your skin, your socio-economic status, your occupation, your lifestyle, your denomination, your religion, and your church affiliation meant NOTHING! The only thing that mattered was love and actually putting it to practice. Yes, it is sad that it took a storm to get us to this point, but nevertheless, we are here. This is what God desires for us to look like EVERYDAY! I was led to Isaiah 43:18-19.
Do not remember the former things,
Or ponder the things of the past.
Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even put a road in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
From this storm, God desires for us to move forward and take heed to what he wants to do in and through us. He has destroyed barriers literally and figuratively, killing old mindsets that have prevented us from living out his word.
Tuesday was the first day we saw the sun and with that, we all had a glimmer of hope. I imagined that is how Noah felt after being in an ark while the earth was being destroyed by a flood. Once he saw that it was safe for him to leave the ark, God made his promise to never destroy the earth by water again and he commanded Noah to …be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it (Genesis 9:7). He told Noah this twice and in his case, they literally needed to increase the population, but for us, as believers, we need to be fruitful and increase the body of Christ through God’s love and truth. My prayer is that us coming together to live out loving people would not be a temporary act. I hope that we would consistently partner with each other to cater to the needs of our communities. I pray that we would not let a church affiliation diminish our ability to come together as one and be the church that God created us to be. With lives being lost every day, we should live not to receive fame and honor on earth, but to see that God is made famous and honored on earth. I look forward to what’s to come because the fact that I’m able to write this and you’re able to read it, shows that we made it through the storm and God’s promises and desires are still in the process of being manifested. Goodbye to the old and hello to the New Houston!