It’s been less than week and like so many of you, I am shocked and saddened when I see pictures or videos of the aftermath of the Texas winter weather storm that occurred the week of Feb. 15th. Even though there was quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground, much of the damage didn’t come from the snow or ice but from occurred afterwards. The frigid temperatures that remained a few days after the snow storm led to frozen pipes, scarce water and extensive power outages. Much like what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the levees broke and flooded the city, many survived the snow storm but our state was not prepared for what came after it.
The stories of those who endured days of subfreezing temperatures in homes and apartments without electricity are heartbreaking. 20 deaths so far have been attributed the storm. There are also now thousands who must repair broken pipes in homes, places of worship, schools and businesses. Survivors of the power outages have shared stories of the fear, uncertainty and anxiety they felt being in the dark as well as not knowing how long the power would be off and how long it would stay on. In other words, Texas is a mess right now.
Watching these stories on the news made me think about the times in my own life when I thought I had survived the storm, only to find myself fighting through its aftermath. We survive storms but may end up nearly drowning in the sea of faithlessness that often follows these storms. Even though we’ve stepped out on faith, we may still allow anxiety and not faith be our navigator through the storm. If we allow God to take us through the process, we develop the spiritual stamina that increases our faith.
Matthew 14:29-33 explains how Jesus responded to Peter after a storm: ”Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”
How do you respond to the storm’s aftermath? Do you adopt the boldness of Peter, start out walking on water, then take your eyes off Jesus and panic when you feel yourself drowning? Some of us may be even bolder and decide to ride the waves of doubt, despair, and confusion and fear that often follow a storm because we don’t know what else to do. Like spiritual surfboarders, we try our best to ride on top of those waves and realize that God has given us power through our faith to ride out the storm as long as our focus remains on Jesus.
I’m praying that God would grant special grace and strength to those impacted by the storm.
To apply for assistance online, visit disasterassistance.gov. To do so over the phone, call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). The lines will be in operation seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.