By Karen Anderson
Exodus 13: 21-22
During the day the LORD went ahead of his people in a thick cloud, and during the night he went ahead of them in a flaming fire. That way the LORD could lead them at all times, whether day or night.
Exodus 40:38-39 No matter where the people traveled, the LORD was with them. Each day his cloud was over the tent, and each night a fire could be seen in the cloud.
Just over a year ago, Saturday, August 25, 2017, the fourth largest US city, Houston, changed forever.
Lee Hutchinson, a Houston forecaster said, “I cannot really explain what it was like to walk outside on Sunday morning, in the aftermath of historic rainfall and devastating floods, and contemplate that at least three or four more days and nights of the same rains must come before the Sun will shine again. From a mental health standpoint, the uncertainty this brings adds considerable stress to an already unbearable situation. For many people in Houston, Harvey will be a defining event in our lives. A time when Mother Nature forced a hard reset on us. There are our lives before Harvey and after Harvey. The next time rain clouds form we will ask ourselves, is this really happening again?”
For those experiencing the uncertainty of Harvey, they had to wonder, “Where is God in all of this? During the long time the Israelites were wandering in the desert, the presence of God was visibly with them. God appeared in the daytime as a cloud, and at night as a flame or fire. They were always led by God, they were never alone, and God’s presence was always visible to them.
Where was God in the Houston rainfall? Where was God in the Houston flooding? We don’t see too many pillars of fire or pillars of clouds anymore. But we do see people in boats coming to the rescue.We see police officers, fire fighters, EMTs. We see neighbors, both local and from neighboring states, bringing in clean water and food. We see people bringing them coffee. We see people running into the tragedy rather than away from it. We see ordinary people traveling to Houston now-even a year later. All of them have the face of God.
During this mission trip to Houston, far from home and familiar things, look for God’s presence. Look for the face of God in those who cross your path and in each other. Look for that presence to guide your journey, look for that presence to help you in your work, look for that presence to encourage you in the tasks ahead, look for God’s presence to help you say, “Yes! This is why we are here!”
Prayer: Guide our journey, God. Help us to safely do your work. Let us enthusiastically go about each day helping our neighbors and searching for your face. Perform a hard reset on our spiritual lives. Amen