She was supposed to hit Florida. Instead, hurricane Katrina slid through the Gulf like a crafty curve ball tossed into home plate. That home plate turned out to be ours. In the early morning hours of August 29th, four years ago, she made landfall causing billions of dollars of damage with winds over 150 mph and flood waters crashing over and through both levees and hearts. Cities were leveled, homes were flooded and lives were changed forever. For those of us living here, it was surreal and maddening as rumors spread like a bad rash and information was sketchy, inaccurate and politically-driven. Incompetence pervaded overly-complicated turf wars with government agencies while locals scrambled to help their neighbors in self-motored flatboats. No one was prepared for the devastating magnitude. Divine sobriety came at the hands of our benevolent God who reminded us once again that Providence reigns. Though judgment, trials and suffering poured out from the skies so, too, did His grace. Through curfews, mayoral racism, bombastic officials, outrage, despair, lies, looting, civic breakdown and media buffoonery emerged light. God’s grace was seen in those who put themselves last and others first. Christ was indeed the first responder.
Churches began to flood in van by van with volunteers loaded with supplies and love. Workers showed up from every state and many foreign countries to aid us in recovering and responding. The light of His undeserved favor was carried in as a torch of mercy so that we would learn to trust in the only One who can be trusted. Civic, military and faith-based hands worked together to help heal what was lanced.
Four years later, we reflect upon the media’s favoritism as many think that New Orleans was the hardest hit metro-area when in truth, St. Bernard Parish was completely destroyed and virtually ignored and parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were taken to sea. On our recent visit to New Orleans east we witnessed ghost-land neighbors peppered in between rebuilt homes and areas of many locales that still sit deserted. There is much to do.
We are thankful for the reminder of community. We got to meet thousands of neighbors. We are thankful for the reminder of love. We got to love many needy people. We are thankful for the reminder of grace. We got to meet our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ before eternity. We are thankful for grace. We got to understand the gospel of the Cross more deeply.
Join us in prayer for our region as we move on in continued urban relief. Help us to help those who still need it as the poor and disadvantaged will be with us always. (Matthew 26:11) Ignore the glamor hounds and celebrities and biased reporters who know nothing about what has happened here and instead feed upon the truth given by those who have labored for years in the stench and debris of this great catastrophe.
May God be with us as we continue to fight the good fight for His glory.