The sun now shines brightly over Houston. The rays of light are a welcomed sight and yet harsh reminder of how a historic flood ravaged a city.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall earlier this week in and around Houston with flood waters rising to record highs, ushering in an unprecedented natural disaster in the fourth largest city in the United States, claiming the lives of 31 people with the death toll expected to rise.
The images will stay with us. Shelters submerged, homes underwater, interstates unrecognizable, memories washed away, helicopters airlifting residents to safety, and family members searching for each other and for dry land. The scenes are reminiscent of how Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans twelve years prior.
The response to help those hurting is what we’ll remember, too. We’ve seen individuals and celebrities continue to make contributions big and small in efforts to help those impacted by the storm.
Houston sports teams have pledged their support to assist the people of their city and have invited other teams around the country to do the same. Most notably, Houston Texans standout J.J. Watt raised $10 million dollars in relief aid within days, declaring that all proceeds will go directly to those in need.
These stories reflect the undeniable power that sport platforms provide and is a reminder to athletes of the impact they can have on the communities they perform in front of. For Christian athletes, these stories are reminders of how scripture instructs Christ followers to live out their faith (Hebrews 13:16).
For those who embody the Holy Spirit, these stories and stories of neighbors helping neighbors should compel us to be imitators of Christ and have God’s heart for the vulnerable. It should compel all of us with the platforms we have to activate our faith, doing for others in need (Matthew 25: 35-40) as much as we do the work of praying on our knees (James 2:14-17).
The people of Houston will continue caring for one another in the wake of life-altering circumstances and in the midst of a world of uncertainty. The city has a long road of recovery ahead. Let’s pray Houston’s athletes of faith continue extending helping hands to their neighbors in the midst of the storm and long after the water recedes. Let's pray that same prayer for those of us outside Houston's city limits, too.
Check here and your local media outlets for ways to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey and for more information on how to participate in relief efforts.