12 Years Ago…

This week’s focus on Hurricane Harvey and the catastrophic events in Texas have taken my thoughts back to where I was and what I was doing when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

12 years ago, today, I was writing a weekly devotional, which would end up continuing for 7 more years. I had just begun my junior year of college: little did I know how that devotional writing and hurricane would change my life.

Below is the devotion I wrote on September 2, 2005.

God’s love is…AMAZING!

“Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging; your love is a mountain firm beneath my feet. Your love is mystery, how you gently lift me. When I am surrounded, your love carries me.”  

Look how many times God’s love is mentioned just in the first few lines of the song!  This is how God is in our life, constantly present, continuing to amaze us with his grace and LOVE.

He is with the people in Louisiana, and Mississippi, and their families across the U.S.  In the midst of disaster and tragedy, there is hope in His AMAZING love in Christ!

“I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:13-14

6 months later I would be on my way to New Orleans with a group of my classmates to do relief work during our spring break.

I was just talking to my spouse the other day, and I realized that I still can’t describe how experiencing a destroyed city and Katrina relief has changed me. It’s a bond I share with the group of people I traveled with, the volunteers at Camp Restore (when it was located on the lawn of a church with tents, cots and shower trailers), and the residents of New Orleans we met.

But I was changed by that experience.

So, as we look at how Hurricane Harvey has ravaged Houston and many surrounding cities, and we cover them in our thoughts and prayers, I try and comprehend the enormity of what they have experienced and will in the days, weeks, months and years to come. But it’s hard to let it all in because I know what New Orleans experienced all those years ago, and is still experiencing today, 12 years into the recovery efforts.

I am encouraged by how people have come together to rescue and serve one another. I am encouraged by the realization that the material things are just stuff that can be replaced.

The LORD provides in these challenging situations. He is present. He provides people to serve. He provides opportunities to give of our time, talents and treasures.

 

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