“I am with you and will watch over you whereever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.” Genesis 28:15
I have always been an idealist, and possibly a visionary. And many of those visions I just hold onto in my head. And some I try to bring forward and share with others. Often I struggle with feelings of disappointment in this world, because it doesn’t live up to my ideals. Lately, I have been struggling a lot with this disappointment and discouragement. I have this vision in my head of how all of the tornado relief efforts could play out, and feel let down when there seem to be so many obstacles in the way. As I wrote in my previous blog post, I have experienced deep sorrow that more people are not stepping up to the plate to keep trudging through the often murky ground that we have yet to cover.
So yesterday, having woken up feeling quite discouraged (let’s just say being tired did not help), I plodded off to church. And what a good thing I did. I ordinarily crash out after expending a lot of energy on things like a fundraiser I helped with, but I felt I needed to go to church.
Two things our pastor shared really stuck with me:
1) Even when we do our part poorly, God does His part perfectly.
2) Are we trusting in our own plans more than we are trusting in our prayers?
OH. Prayer. Yes, I have been doing that.
But I have also been barging ahead of God and not waiting on Him to answer what I know in all my heart, my mind, and my soul He will answer. Because He has clearly told me He will, over and again.
And yes, I have been living in fear that since I have done my part so poorly, none of it will work out.
Sometimes I live in such faith, and sometimes I have a mighty struggle to continue to hold on to what I know He has promised us in Rowlett.
With that said, let me share my vision for part of the tornado relief process, and that would be my vision for The Tornado Relief Center, sometimes now known as simply The Red House.
My vision, developed over time. is that it is a safe harbor. A place of refuge from the onslaught of demands that are coming at the tornado survivors from all sides. When I am there, we spend as much time talking to the survivors as we do helping organize the stuff, and helping them get the stuff. They want to talk, they want to share. Some of them want prayer, and we pray for them. We want them to know God loves them, and has not forgotten them. We have not forgotten them. We want to be the hands of Jesus to these people, and we often do this without saying anything overtly religious. Often we do talk about Jesus as we are led, but just as often we don’t and people have come and said to us later they knew we were from God. I have had countless people tell us they were about to give up, and then they found the center and hope got restored. I truly believe God is hard at work to reach people through all of this, and the relief center is a key place He is doing it. Not only can we reach out to survivors, but we have met each other. Churches have set aside their differences and come together. God does not want our churches to be so divided and separate that we are our own islands. He wants us to all be part of His Church. To come to know Him. The center is a place where this is happening. It is a safe harbor.
I have found, in all I have done for the center, and otherwise for tornado relief, that there are, in fact, many safe harbors around. Some of them are places, some of them are events or occasions, but all of them are people. I have met some of the most incredible people on this journey. Both those who are tornado survivors, and those who are volunteering to help them (sometimes they are both). I never knew that people could care so much. In a world where we often see so much hate, this new community I have found is MY safe harbor. So to all of you I have met, in person or online, and those I still have to meet as we walk this journey of long term recovery, I thank you. I now know I am no longer as alone in this world as I once thought.
“As for God, His way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. ” 2 Samuel 22:31