Houstonians have had an especially hard couple of weeks. Hurricane Harvey drifted around in the neighborhood far too long. The rain fall amounts are just mind-boggling. Unbelievable flooding devastated the area. Many homes were damaged by the rising waters and Houstonians are still taking stock of the ruination. It may be weeks before the waters recede in some places. We are grateful for the sacrifices made by first responders and uncounted ordinary people who rescued others and helped them in a time of need. Those who are prepared to help in recovery efforts, such as LCMS Disaster Response, are now arriving to assess the needs and encourage spiritual care for suffering Houstonians and others throughout the disaster area.
Of course, this disaster is also a spiritual crisis. We would be foolish to ignore the spiritual impact it has on everyone touched by it, even on people who have come through it relatively unscathed. I heard from a Houstonian who was working out of town when Harvey hit and whose home was dry. She said that she sat in front of the television watching the news reports before going to business meetings and wept, "I cried out my stress this morning, heart breaking views of the city." Everyone is touched by this. No one is immune. We are grieving and will be for a while. We need to be aware of the long-term effects of this suffering in our community. We will need to minister to each other for a long time.
Because this is a spiritual crisis, we need a spiritual interpretation of it and response to it. I heard from a member of our congregation, whose home flooded. He and his family were living with relatives whose home was dry. He said that they were giving thanks because they were alive and safe. This is a wonderful, faithful perspective in the face of devastation. "My home is flooded, but I still have what's most important to me, my Lord, my family, and my life."
When the Lord brought the flood of Noah upon the earth, no one survived except Noah and his family, eight souls in all. Despite God's warning to Noah and his contemporaries about that devastating flood, only Noah's family was saved in the ark "in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water" (