by Kathryn Haueisen
“Where is your faith in God?” That’s the question my husband asked me as the news reported the status of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
The hurricane dumped 50 inches of rain on our city and created high waters and dangerous situations near our house.
Boats were rescuing people in the neighborhood across the road from us. While the water had not reached our home yet, I wasn’t convinced it would stay that way.
Where was my faith?
So where was my faith, I wondered. My husband, Tom, was calm in his recliner, keeping an eye on the news coverage of the hurricane.
I thought about reminding him of the story about the man who turned down help when floodwaters approached because he trusted God would save him. Three times he declined help, waiting on God to rescue him. On his entrance interview into heaven, he demanded to know why God hadn’t saved him. God replied, “I tried. Three times.”
Faith found in the shower
Ironically, I figured out where my faith was in the shower. God gave me a brain and life experience to know that rising moving water is not good for my safety or sanity. And God has given me a network of family and friends offering their homes far away from the hurricane. I intended to take one of them up on their offer.
It turned out my husband was right. We did not flood, though some 40 neighbors around the corner did. Before I knew we were safe, I left, and Tom stayed. I was gone about 24 hours, and I returned home less stressed than when I left.
So where is God in a disaster?
I do not believe God sends storms and other disasters to punish or teach lessons. While one can make a case from Scripture that God does that, science has revealed insights about nature that were unknown in biblical times. I reject the premise that God causes catastrophes.
I believe God is present during a disaster through the people who rush in to rescue. There are the first responders who work for agencies and organizations charged with such missions. But there are also strangers who see a need and dash in to help in whatever ways they can.
Mr. Fred Rogers said it best: “When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
That is also where you’ll find God in a disaster.
Where is God? With the helpers.
Kathryn Haueisen is a retired pastor who lives in Texas with her husband. She spends her days writing, gardening and wondering what her grandchildren are doing. She blogs about people, places and programs that make helpful contributions to society at www.howwisethen.com. Long before Hurricane Harvey she co-authored “A Ready Hope: Effective Disaster Ministry for Congregations,” based on what she learned about disasters from previous Gulf Coast area hurricanes .The book is available on Amazon.