“On that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights…” (Genesis 7:11-12)
That’s the way it feels today in south Texas. Folks in/around Houston are dealing with epic weather conditions. Records abound: rivers cresting higher than they have in over a century; the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in over 50 years. Steve Bowen, chief meteorologist at reinsurance firm Aon Benfield, said: “What we’re seeing is the most devastating flood event in Houston’s recorded history. We’re seeing levels of rainfall that are unprecedented.” Houston – the fourth largest city in America – is underwater.
Rain is a good thing; just ask any community in the midst of unyielding drought. The average annual rainfall across America is 40 inches; Texas’ – as a state – averages 35. Houston’s average over the last 30 years is over 52. Some forecasts project 50 inches to fall from Hurricane Harvey, in a week.
We have hundreds of friends in our Master’s/Barnabas network in the Houston area; I’ve talked with some of them in the last 24 hours. Whatever you’ve seen in news reports doesn’t come close to depicting the devastation across the region. Local, state and national resources are moving to intervene.
What can you do? Pray, first and foremost. Ask for God to protect and provide for the people in the path of the storm. Then, do what you can do: go online right now to www.samaritanspurse.org. On top of the homepage is the red banner, “Responding to Hurricane Harvey.” Click on the “Donate Now” button and be generous. I’ve served on the board of Samaritan’s Purse for 24 years; you can trust them to put your contribution to good use, and they’ll do it in the Name of Jesus.
“…The floodgates of the heavens were opened.” That was the headline as Noah’s ark was provided for the rescue of man and beast. In the midst of historic calamity, God always pivots to provide for his purposes.
There are only two places in the whole of Scripture where that phrase is used: in Genesis, to explain the deluge of Noah, and in Malachi, to size-up God’s response to faithful stewardship. Listen to the promise of God (which has never been rescinded):
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3:11-12)
Most cities learn to live with their rainfall averages. Phoenix gets 8 inches/year; Miami gets 62; Los Angeles gets by with 13; New York runs on 50. Each figures out what to expect, and they get by. The same is true for people and their income: they have up years and down years, but – generally speaking – they learn to get by, without expecting crisis or windfall to catch them unawares.
God claims to be behind the provision of liquidity – both rainfall and cashflow – and he says that he controls the valves that determine what comes into play in the lives of people who live under his heaven. Insurance companies will call Hurricane Harvey “an act of God;” when better-than-expected financial conditions come raining down, who’s behind that?
This may be a year when the faithfulness of God – toward you – has been evident. Is that an accident? Or, is your current status an indicator of his blessing… and your opportunity to reciprocate?