Heavenly Question Marks
It was only a little over six weeks ago when the first major Atlantic Hurricane of the season hammered the coast of Texas and wreaked havoc in the Houston area. The wettest tropical cyclone on record in the US dropped over 40 inches of rain in a four-day period. Massive flooding caused death, destruction and heartbreak for thousands of people. Harvey, as the storm was named, started a pattern where over the next few weeks three additional Hurricanes would form and either threaten the United States or make direct contact on Florida and Puerto Rico.
As we approach the second half of October, the colorful peace of autumn has settled in as a welcome contrast to the fear filled chaotic atmosphere of early September. The mood in this flood ravaged city is rising due to recovery and the march of their beloved baseball Astros toward a World Series birth. I am reminded of a providential day at the end of August.
It was 6:30am on Wednesday, August 30. I was one of five men sitting around a table at our local Chic Fil A. For about seven years now we have been getting together every other early Wednesday morning. We talk about what is going on in our lives, we read scripture, study devotionals and pray. We call ourselves BIC (Brothers in Christ) Reunion Group. On this particular morning, brother Monte suggested that we engage in some serious servants’ work pertaining to the crises in Houston from Hurricane Harvey. Local broadcasting powerhouse WSB was conducting a -water drive- to collect donations of bottled drinking water for the Houston populace which was suffering for vital clean uncontaminated water.
WSB donation center
Being recently retired, I had time and a pick-up truck available. Brother Monte being his own boss had time. Our BIC brothers ponied up some financing. So we collected enough to stock up my small bed Ford Ranger. Monte and I surmised we could meet in an hour, stop at the local Costco, deliver to the TV station and be free for the afternoon. But, we learned again the best laid plans of mice and men according to the great poet Robert Burns, "Gang aft a-gley."
Monte decided to post on our Smyrna First UMC and Smyrna Walk to Emmaus Facebook pages what we were doing and invited folks to participate. By the time I got to Monte’s house he had received notification of support for a second truckload of water! At this point our effort began to take on another feel. All of a sudden the divine intervention of amazing grace began to rain down and flow through the relief effort. At the TV Station the organizers were overwhelmed by the response. They had to summon additional tractor trailer transport. By the time we had finished delivery of the first load, we had social media commitments for two more loads. Have you ever heard of “Fishes and Loaves?” I now know firsthand the meaning of that story.
Water for life.
Our Creator continued to place little miracles in our path. A couple from our Church called to say they had a bigger pick-up available and we could consolidate the final two of four loads into one. This gift allowed Monte and I to complete our work before the crush of Atlanta rush hour. We delivered enough bottled water to place one each in the hands of 4,000 residents! Perhaps the most gracious moment of the day was during the assembling of our final load outside Costco. As I was handing cases to Monte standing in the truck bed, a kind gentleman approached.
He asked, “Is this water going to Houston? I have relatives there."
We replied, “Yessir.”
He then began picking up cases to help us. Over the next few minutes this meek man dressed in black showed us another example of the body of Christ. When we asked his name, he told us that he was Father Tannous and invited us to: Father Tannous' Church
I constantly marvel at how God places juxtaposition, contradiction and divine paradox in our lives. Sometimes these are front page news stories, situations, people, places and happenings that dangle a heavenly question mark in front of our eyes. Here was a city, Houston, overrun with water, people flood forced from their homes. But they were desperate for good water, the water that quenches a thirst, water to cleanse the heart. And so it is with all of us. We, the world, desperately thirst for the true Living Water.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.