Lessons from Harvey

Published 7:15 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

By K. Ray McDowell

9 “And then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (MSG)

Harvey is teaching me a few things. I am learning about community, wide-spread suffering, recovery after a disaster and more. I am also learning some hard lessons about myself. I am learning that I am a “weaker” man than I ever wanted to admit.

On the morning after Harvey hit the airboat that rescued me, and my family dropped us off at I -10 and MLK. The reality of what just happened to us struck me like an iron fist when they looked at me and said; “The shelters are full. You will have to find a place to go.”

Twenty-four hours earlier I lived in a comfortable four-bedroom home with my wife, two of our five children, two dogs and a cat. Our house was full of the furnishings and memories collected over thirty-five years of marriage. We owned three automobiles, more clothes than we ever wore, and the garage stored the extra “stuff” the house could not.

In a matter of hours, I went from being the head of my home – protector of my family – provider of “the good life” with all its trappings – to being “homeless” and “helpless” taking refuge in an underpass. The greatest lesson Harvey has been teaching me started in that moment. God is enough…period.

I have believed for a long time that God is enough – that He is all we need. The difference between then and now is that while I was “believing” that great truth I was standing strong on my own two legs surrounded by all the things that “I” had accomplished or provided that supported my testimony.

I acknowledged that God was “giver of all” but at the same time I had taken undue credit for being “good, hard working, faithful, studious, etc.”.

Harvey taught me by taking everything I had that I still had everything I needed. When I was at my weakest moment God was there…stronger than ever.

I have Him…and He is enough.

K. Ray McDowell is the Lead Pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Orange Texas. To learn more about OFCN go to www.ofcnazarene.org.