Relief After Hurricane Harvey “Is the Lord’s Doing”

Watch God work in the wildest of circumstances. When the theology is rightly understood, you’ll find He has prepared a way out of the disaster.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the World Harvest Outreach Seventh-day Adventist Church (WHO) has been designated as an official donation drop-off point and distribution center for the City of Houston, Texas.

Three generations committed to Community Service. Cynthia Ferdinand, right, her daughter Angela Jerez, center, and granddaughter Amaya Jerez help World Harvest Outreach prepare clothes for families in need after Hurricane Harvey.

We are operating both a community services center that serves an average of 300 to 400 families a day as well as a distribution center to other churches, mosques, and community organizations who are also seeking to assist survivors. In this beehive of activity teeming with volunteers and survivors, we receive and redistribute everything from non-perishable and easy-to-make foods to bottled water, to diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, and diaper rash cream, to cleaning supplies, and bedding after this unprecedented hurricane and tropical storm.

The natural question is how did all of this come together? And the simple and honest answer is that God put it together. Psalm 118:23 says it better than I could: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (KJV).

Help In the Hurricane

“God’s footsteps are already where you are going,” evangelist Walter Pearson said in a message years ago. God knew what team He needed to be in place before the storm hit.

God put a passion in the pastor to lead ministries that serve Him by serving His people (Matthew 25:40.) He chose members within World Harvest with a similar gifts, skills, and dedication to plan and execute the logistics. God’s Holy Spirit unified pastors and churches in the area resulting in a multiplication of volunteers. God connected us to decision-makers who see the potential of our facilities, and have confidence in our integrity and willingness to roll up our sleeves to do the work of assisting survivors. God has touched the hearts of his people everywhere so that they are generously sharing both of their time and resources to help ease the suffering of others.

It is the Lord’s doing! The story of Balaam tells me that God can use a jackass if need be, but He prefers to utilize willing vessels. If you would not be a willing vessel to serve Him in a crisis or disaster, I would suggest you consider your theology.

Disaster Theology

What do you think about God?

Is He good? I believe that He is good and that we ought to trust His heart even when we cannot trace His movements. I believe Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (KJV).

What do you think about His people?

I mean, all of His people. It’s hard to serve people if you don’t see their value. Some think that God only has a few people. But when I read Matthew 1:21, I see “…thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” They are sinners. They need salvation. But they are “His people.” His people are the fourth generation members, or the charter members, or the on the Board of Trustees people. And His people also means the single, young mother of three whose parents never brought her to church. Believers lose everything in storms and natural disasters. And those who do not yet know Christ lose everything in storms and natural disasters.

What do you think about sin and suffering?

If you believe there is always a direct correlation between an individual’s sins, and their suffering, it will impact ministry to those most adversely affected by a catastrophe. We may indeed serve them, but we may lack compassion as we do so. We witness that mindset in the disciples when with Jesus they passed by a man who was blind from birth. They asked him, “…Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)

Jesus gave them a key that I believe is helpful to us as we seek to minister to survivors of catastrophes. “Jesus answered, neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3).

We don’t try to answer questions that are above our proverbial “pay grade.” The New Testament reports that faithful James was beheaded; faithful Peter was released from prison. God is good all the time. We don’t know why a survivor lost all of her earthly possessions. We don’t know why all of the houses on one’s street were flooded, and all of the houses on the next one remained dry. But, we are at Airport Road and Scott Street to walk with God’s children, to wrap our arms around them, to treat them with love, dignity and respect.

Grace and Glory

God put the team together. God has moved upon the hearts of others to provide resources. And we are determined, by His grace, to do our little part to make sure that He gets the glory out of it all.  After all, “it is the Lord’s doing,” and it is marvelous in our eyes.

 

 

 

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