I had not yet even gone to see where we would be building two tiny blue houses that wouldn’t be wired with electricity or have running water, and I was already crying. We had landed on the beautiful island of Jamaica the day before and had settled in a safely guarded area of Ocho Rios before we visited the historic church in St. Ann, where Bob Marley was born and buried. I don’t remember the song the choir was singing anymore, but I remember the tears that flooded my face that hot, July Sunday morning where only the breeze and fans cooled the congregation.
We Americans were standing there in the presence of God and all the people in the church feeling a deep sense of guilt for all the things we had taken for granted that God had blessed our lives with, things people in Houston now wish they had.
One after another, the Jamaican people stood and gave glory and honor to God for providing for their needs. When I went to bed that night, I reminded myself of that after touring the dangerous, poverty stricken area where we were to build.
That trip changed my life and my way of thinking, just like the treacherous Houston flood will change the lives of millions, including people like me who have watched the disaster unfold on TV.
Time and again, we hear survivors saying, “It was a miracle they found me.” A miracle. Every time I hear them give glory to God, it reminds me of the faithful people in Jamaica.
“I know they don’t want to hear this,” said a Hurricane Katrina survivor on National Public Radio yesterday, “but they’ve got to have patience.” As I drove home listening to the story, all I could think of was how hard it would be not to have a home to go to. Again, one of those realizations of the things I take for granted.
One woman in Jamaica with three children, including a nursing infant, had no home, yet told our church group she knew God would provide for her and this past summer, a year later, He did. We heard a blue house was built for her family like the ones we built, and they no longer had to sleep on a friend’s porch. Hard to comprehend, isn’t it? Sleeping on a tiny, unprotected porch for more than a year?
I hardly know where to start or what to do, but I want to do something, just like all of you to help people suffering like the people in Houston.
One of the best things we can do is to pray and to start right where we are by looking around and being still enough to hear from God just like I did that day in the Jamaican church where I literally had to gather myself together to keep from sobbing out loud.
God knows our hearts and hears our cries. May none of us ever doubt the power of prayer and His love for us in good times and bad. We just need to have patience.
Here’s a short video of the choir singing at the church service in St. Ann