Psalm 46:1-5

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. Psalm 46:1-5

Tuesday morning in Houston and the worst of the storm isn’t over yet. The movement has been from fear to misery. The volume of water and the extent of the flooding is beyond imaginable. The primary shelter for the city was designed to accommodate 5000 people. This morning there are over 9000 people there. That is just one of dozens of shelters. Soon they will all be full.

A disaster like this reminds us how dependent we are on one another for the simple basics of everyday life. Not just now but always.

This morning a mother was interviewed at a local shelter. She was rescued from her home along with four little children, her son and her nephews. The rescue crew had to leave the other men behind as their initial focus is on children, the elderly, and those with special needs. The mom showed us the little bottles of prepackaged formula available at the shelter – she said that her son alone would drink four of them at a time. All four children would need several diapers a day. Thousands of families are just like her.

No one in this city will be untouched by this storm. Every family will either be flooded or will have close family or friends who are flooded. It will take a long time before we get back to the normal rhythms of life.

Psalm 46 reminds us that God is a very present help in trouble. People are experiencing that all over town. Courageous volunteers using boats to rescue people from homes. Police officers, firemen, National Guardsmen. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers. God is present in all of that. It is the sort of thing that we talk about all the time in church but we don’t know it until we know it. We know it when we need it.

Living in a big city is a mixed bag. Surrounded by people, you seldom come across anyone you know. People come here because this is where the jobs are – and the traffic and the complexity and all of the difficulties in finding ways for millions of people to share the same spaces and resources. Then disasters strike and the city takes on a wholly different character. It is good to be reminded that God is in the midst of the city.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, though the waters rage and rain still falls, we pray this morning for your continued presence and help for those who need it the most. Unleash the force of self-giving love as people help people to get through this flood. Protect those who find themselves in shelters and those prepared to be helpful to them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Psalm 46:1-5”

  1. Gary Reese Says:

    Rev. Kerry, I am proud to know you and appreciate your support during my personal family losses and what you have made available to many people in Recovery. You notes about the current situation are comforting to know that people are moved through God to help those in need when necessary, I wish that visibility of need was more clear every day so that we could know who to reach out to and that God puts people in our paths so his love can shine through.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Such an appropriate message for the suffering in the path of Harvey. Praying for you and your congregation. A fan from ND.

  3. Carolee Groux Says:

    Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring people together in a common purpose. Lives are at stake, and kindness shown to strangers proves the ‘love one another’ commandment is for real. We realize that those ‘strangers’ are our brothers and sisters, and that we all have a stake in rising above the chaos. We can all do something, even though we cannot be rescue responders. We can donate to Lutheran Disaster Relief and we can pray for all those millions of people who call Houston home.

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