There’s a shirt that has floated around recently saying Not Today Satan. The Book of James says to resist the devil and he will flee from you. God doesn’t cause the bad things to come. But sometimes He allows them. And that has been a lesson this momma has tried for over a decade to wrap her head around. It’s what we do with the bad things, how we react to them that allows Him to work. Nothing glorifies the enemy more than when we blame God, blame each other, blame irrational scientific theories, blame, blame, blame. But what happens when we’re quiet instead of arguing? When we’re watching instead of reacting? When we’re praying instead of analyzing? He works. He WILL bring beauty from ashes. He WILL send the rainbow. He WILL part the sea. He WILL empty the tomb. He WILL stop the rain. He WILL drain the waters.
There is a picture that has gone viral of a SWAT officer walking through water carrying a minority woman who is cradling her child. If you’ve seen it already, go back and study it. Look how tightly his hands are clutching her. Look how tightly she is clutching her baby. I read a caption by a conservative journalist that referenced the picture as portraying what are traditional gender roles. You can bet he took a lot of heat for it. I believe that picture will become synonymous with this moment in history. It was neighbor helping neighbor. It was the hands and feet of Jesus, wearing camo fatigues. When disaster strikes, instinct kicks in. Good people jump into action. Nobody cares about color, neighborhood or tax bracket. People do what their instincts tell them to do. How many trucks pulling boats left my home state of Louisiana to help with the rescue? Who drove those trucks? Who navigated those boats? Who carried survivors to safety? Men. Who started supply drives? Who started cooking, washing, rocking? Women. And what’s wrong with that?
Almost exactly a year ago my hometown flooded. Along with our neighboring city to the east. We saw the best of each other. Those of us whose sheetrock stayed dry showed up on doorsteps of those whose didn’t and we busted out theirs. The men used circular saws and cut it loose for us and we kicked it in. Then the men hauled the wheel barrels to the dumpster and we vacuumed up the dust. Wall after wall, room after room and house after house. Instinct kicked in to do what needed to be done which was to help our neighbor in the way we were best designed for.
Despite very threatening radar, my town and area have largely been spared. So my village and I are waiting in the wings. Our instincts are telling us to help our neighbors. How? We don’t know yet. Thankfully there doesn’t appear to be any sheetrock in our area that needs kicking in. But there will be plenty to the west of us. It will be hard for most of us moms to drop everything and head that way. But maybe a lot of our guys can. How many of our guys will be taking vacation days and going help our neighbors? How many of us women will be sending them with supplies and food to feed whole neighborhoods while we keep the store running back home? And what’s wrong with that?
When the worst happens and we give the wheel to Jesus, the pieces fall into place. We do what we are designed to do and then miracles happen. And when we stop bickering over who can do what just as good as someone else, we find what we are really good at, what we are made to do.
Have you seen Irma? Irma is spinning off the coast of Africa with its eye on the Caribbean. We all know once it’s hits the Caribbean what might be next…the Gulf. Have you seen soon to be named Jose? Jose is forming in the south Gulf. A friend said today that God must not be happy with the South. From last year’s flood until now we’ve had our share of strife. I said I saw it differently. God allows tragedy to change us. What happens when God sends us Southerners, in particular us Cajuns and Texans more than we can handle? He sends in our neighbors to help carry the load. And when the rest of the world is watching, it’s His work on display. Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the body. With all eyes on us, the body of the Church answered its calling.
Harvey has hung around day after day. That’s the enemy’s calling card…to keep pushing. But I think he’s hanging around because he’s still looking for a kink in the armor. A few million God fearing people have said day after day Not Today Satan. And with that declaration he’s been weakened and weakened. And with each day men and women alike have fought harder and harder to help each other, save each other, love each other.
When the worst happens, instinct kicks in. Men rush in to save, to rescue. Women start cooking, planning and praying. Oh my word do we pray. And the world watches as Matthew 25:40 comes alive across their TV sets, their Facebook news feeds, their talk radio stations and their Instagram pages. They watch as the body of the Church feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, heals the sick and prays for the lost. They watch as we rock the babies, wash the clothes, raise the money, collect the diapers, stack the water and whatever else our wet, waterlogged, devastated neighbor needs us to do. Because when we serve each other, we serve Jesus. And our test becomes our testimony.
Too soon the day is coming that the pundits will come out in force replaying it all, blaming the powers that be, blaming victims and offering false hopes by way of greedy charities and misappropriated funds. We’re seeing some of it trickle in already. Pictures of looters. Stories of Pastor McFancyPants not opening his church doors. Our job, as the body of the Church is to keep repeating Not Today, Not Today, NOT TODAY. Because the enemy wants us to think that it’s a city of thieves asking for help, so maybe we won’t go help. And he wants us to think that none of the churches care about the lost, hungry and naked. So maybe we won’t support the churches. But when we say Not Today we shut him down and he flees. And then we remember why God allowed the rain to fall and the waters to rise. Texas, many of our best are there with you now. Many more of us are coming. We’ve got you.