Harvey as Revelation
The death, destruction, and devastation Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have brought to our neighbors in Texas and Louisiana has been described as biblical, pointing to the plagues of the Old Testament. Meteorologists are predicting a similar level of destruction with Irma. Certainly, all this pain and suffering is not the desire of God.
However, the notion of Harvey as biblical relates not only to its vast impact; it is also suggests that something can be revealed from this event. What could God be telling our national community? Some possibilities:
- We are, in fact, our brothers' and sisters' keepers, to paraphrase the first book of the bible. In the wake of the storm, we have seen massive relief efforts and tremendous generosity to our southern neighbors from people who have never met them.
- Emergency needs to be defined broadly. When the fourth largest city in the United States in immersed in water, an emergency has cripplied our nation, and the nation must respond. It is true also when unborn children are in peril within their mothers' wombs; poor children are at risk due to lack of healthcare, food, or undereducation; and innocent children are at risk of deportation, emergencies abound that call forth a national response.
- Poverty trumps politics. Newly impoverished people were not asked their political leanings, for whom they voted, party allegiances. They were simply given the help they needed because they were human beings in need and the helpers had hearts of compassion.
Yes, the consequences of the storm are unprecedented. The costs, in dollars, are estimated to exceed $100 billion. The costs, in human terms, cannot be measured. But our response to Harvey can be marked by compassion, empathy, humanity, generosity, and prayer.
Can't all emergencies be graced with such a response?