Art Acevedo is police chief in Houston, Texas. His message to people in his beleaguered city: “Just hunker down, hold tight—we hear you, we feel you. Believe me.” His police officers have rescued more than three thousand people as of this morning.
911 operators fielded fifty-six thousand calls within twenty-four hours when the crisis began. Numerous companies have pledged millions of dollars to relief efforts. Red Cross personnel are preparing for weeks of assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. President Trump and the first lady will visit the Texas Gulf Coast later today.
While police officers, 911 operators, and disaster relief workers have been saving lives in Houston for days, some may wonder where God has been as this disaster unfolded. What would our Lord say to those devastated by this unprecedented crisis?
- He knows your name. He called Zacchaeus and Saul of Tarsus by name, even though they were two of the most infamous sinners in the Bible.
• He knew you before you were born: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).
• He knows your actions and thoughts: “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2).
• He knows every detail of your life: “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).
• He knows your pain: “I have surely seen the affliction of my people . . . and have heard their cry” (Exodus 3:7).
• He suffers as you suffer: “In all their affliction he was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9).
• He will never forget you: “I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15–16).
• He walks with you through calamity: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
The psalmist declared, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). As a result, he testified, “we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (vv. 2–3).
Every rescuer is an extension of God’s compassion and care in these catastrophic days. If the Lord could describe a pagan king like Cyrus as “my anointed” (Isaiah 45:1) and call Nebuchadnezzar “my servant” (Jeremiah 43:10), he can use every person who will be used. Every act of assistance, every resource and provision is his gift of grace and mercy.
I believe that the One who wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) weeps over Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast today. Now our Father calls us to share his heart for his children. If those devastated by this crisis were your brothers and sisters, how would you feel about them?