It's strange how quickly and drastically wind and water can change our lives. Under normal circumstances, wind and water are a pleasant part of our daily existence. They usually give us refreshment, but they can suddenly and unexpectedly be turned into disaster causing elements. Hurricane Harvey demonstrated that for us.
I've spent the past few days sitting in my home waiting for Harvey to leave. I've spent hours watching the water in the street in front of my house rise inch by inch. I've watched displaced people float their belongings past my house as they evacuated to safety. And as I've watched and waited I've wondered about things.
I've wondered about running out of coffee. I've wondered about running out of toilet paper. I've wondered where the birds I've been feeding are finding food. I've wondered how many more baths I'll get before the water turns bad. And I've wondered about cooking food and washing dishes.
I've wondered if my house will flood, how much I'll lose if it does, and how much I'll recover afterwards. We've evacuated now, so I've also wondered how long we will be displaced.
I've wondered about my new job and if the school building where I'll be teaching has flooded. I've wondered when school will finally start, if I'll still have a job after Harvey is gone, about my personal belongings left in my classroom, about being behind schedule, about my new co-workers, and about my paycheck.
I've wondered about a lot of things.
Yes, these things I've wondered about are mostly unimportant when considering the big picture. But such are the thoughts of one living in the middle of a catastrophe. These ordinary and unimportant parts of my life have been moved to the forefront of my mind. I don't usually think much about them because they're mundane to my everyday living. But now I can't help but think about them because I'm as human as the next human, and I'm in survival mode. I'm simply trying to be in control of what I cannot control.
Even though my focus has been driven to think about these unimportant things, my current circumstance has also reminded me of what matters most in my life. I've thought about my priorities, and they are in order. Even though I've been worried about these little things for the past few days, what matters most does matter most to me.
While my new job is a blessing, I understand God is my source.
While I've had a comfortable and enjoyable house in which to live, God is my real shelter and refuge.
While I've collected things in life that are valuable to me, God is my provider.
God will never be lost to me because of the wind, the rain, or the flood, nor any other element turned disastrously against me. So even in the face of stress and loss, I am thankful. Though life has felt a bit scary lately, it's all a mere inconvenience in comparison to what is most important.
I acknowledge that the magnitude of this disaster is mind boggling. It's difficult for me to process what recovery will be like. Even so, I will recover. It is going to be okay again.
I've never experienced anything like Harvey before, but I have experienced other kinds of scary life events. And I've been both with and without. My experiences have conditioned me to think that it's easier to go from without to with than it is to go from with to without. For me, going from full to empty requires more effort. Either way, however, regardless of how much I have or how much I don't have, I'm still the same flesh and blood as I've always been. It's only my thoughts and emotions that change with the turn of each event. And in spite of how I think and how I feel, I tend to manage my way through my circumstance. Having been in both places (with and without) has provided me the opportunities to learn how.
But know this! I make it through only because the most important thing in my life stays constant. That is God. He is where I'm stabilized.
Life happens. Sometimes I lose; sometimes I gain. But God is always constant and in control.
So, in the middle of my uncertain circumstance, and in the middle of my thoughts about my uncertain circumstance, I'm also thinking about Him. He has the power to both give and take away. So whether He's giving or taking, I want my life and lips to honor Him. I'm inclined, today, to bless His holy name. He is most important. He is what matters most to me.