When the new year rolled in, I joked with a group of friends that we were going to get shirts made that said, “I survived 2016.” We were joking about the shirts, but serious about our summary of 2016. It. Was. Awful.
Is that true for you? Maybe. Maybe not.
- One of my friends had a serious health scare with her oldest daughter. Like, serious.
- Another went through the worst year of her marriage, had tried everything she possibly could and nothing was working. Nothing was enough.
- Another endured year three of trying to have a baby and month after month, she found out she wasn’t pregnant…over and over again.
- A lost job.
- A church torn apart.
- A dream shattered.
- Prayers that weren't answered the way we wanted them.
2016- we hated you. Everywhere we looked, we saw devastation. And we're a positive, life-loving bunch of gals. So, can we catch a break?
We kept saying, “Can this year please end? PUH-LEASE?”
Now, here we are in 2017 (oh, we’re Houston girls by the way) and we just endured Harvey. Everywhere our eyes can see is devastation.
- Flooded homes.
- Flooded roads.
- Destroyed furniture, heirlooms, precious possessions- all gone, spread across South Texas. And I turned on the news to hear about Irma and the wildfires (the list could go on). Oh my.
I had to ask. I just had to: Ok God, why? I know He didn’t smite us and He didn’t cause this. We do our own thing. We live in a fallen world, with fallen people on a planet that does it’s own thing too. I get it. But I had to ask.
He didn’t answer, but He did open my eyes. And do you know what I saw in every single devastation? The emergence of a pure, unfiltered devotion towards mankind. It’s the kind that notices the heartache, fear, pain, and loss and says, “I’ll stand with you. I’ll pray for you. You are not alone.” In other words, with devastation comes devotion. From God and from each other.
Last week I was helping clean out several homes that were flooded by Harvey. We ripped out baseboards, carpet, sheetrock, threw away water damaged things…it was hard work, physically and emotionally. Things like that cause you to think deep thoughts. I paused for lunch with a friend.
As we sat down, I asked her how her (devastated) marriage situation was going. She proceeded to tell me how God was beginning to restore and answer the prayers that she had prayed for years. I know it should have been a beautiful moment. We should have clapped, danced and toasted our Dr. Peppers, but she shared her feelings about emerging from devastation. She said: I’m standing in the middle of my victory, surrounded by defeat. It’s like winning the battle you’ve been fighting for so long, but you have to make the long walk off the field of casualties. I know that feeling! I’ve felt it. I painfully understand. Yet, the beautiful thing about that victory walk is we don’t walk it alone.
He puts His arm around us.
He sends reinforcements.
He teaches us as we go.
He works all things together for good.
Yes, with devastation comes devotion. I’ll toast my Dr. Pepper to that!
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Romans 12:21 ESV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Psalm 145:17 ESV
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
Romans 12:12 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.