CLYDE: Hello, this is Clyde.
ERIC HUFFMAN: Is this Clyde and Corey from the Louisiana Cajun Navy?
CLYDE: Yes, sir; it is.
COREY: Yes, sir; it is.
ERIC: How are you doing boys?
CLYDE: Doing great.
ERIC: It’s good to hear your voices.
CLYDE: Same here.
ERIC: Where are you now?
CLYDE: We’re in Galveston.
ERIC: Oh, nice.
CLYDE: We have a warehouse and we’ve got a lot of boats stored down here, too, so we can have quick access in case something happens in Houston again.
ERIC: I love it. I love it. How does somebody actually, I’m just curious, not that I’m looking to join up, because I don’t think I have the chops, but how does somebody join the Cajun Navy?
CLYDE: We have cook teams and everything else. You go on—
ERIC: Wait. You’re trying to put me on the cook team? I’m not sure that’s any better.
CLYDE: Prayer team. You can always do the prayer team out there.
ERIC: That I can handle.
CLYDE: Yeah, Louisiana CN, you can go on louisianacn.com, which stands for Cajun Navy, and there’s a volunteer form on there. Of course, there’s a liability waver that you sign because we do our own stunts, so we don’t tell everybody what’s going on. It’s kind of like Navy Seals. We do things that, really, the government can’t do. We have helicopters from private companies that we know coming in, dropping in, doing things that no one will ever know because we just have to do that.
[AUDIO RECORDING START 00:01:16]
VOICE: Anyone need any help?
NEWS REPORTER: Hundreds of volunteers have been lending a hand to the Gulf Coast of Texas, bringing aid and supplies while assisting rescue crews. Helping thousands ravaged by floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey.
NEWS REPORTER: The Cajun Navy gathered in the parking lot of a sporting goods store in this city’s Summer Meadows neighborhood earlier Monday. The rag tag crew of Louisiana natives float into Houston from all over the Pelican State to rescue Texans trapped by rising floodwaters brought by Hurricane Harvey.
VOICE: Anyone need any help?
[AUDIO RECORDING END 00:01:53]
ERIC: On this episode of Maybe God, exactly one year ago, much of Southeast Texas, including Houston, our hometown, experienced a flood of biblical proportions. As much as sixty inches of rain fell in some areas. Nineteen trillion gallons of water that flooded three hundred thousand buildings and homes, causing over a hundred billion dollars’ worth of damage and sending forty thousand people to emergency shelters. Thirteen thousand Houstonians had to be rescued by boats and helicopters. As the waters of Hurricane Harvey began to recede, we started asking ourselves, how could this happen, and why?
ERIC: If God is real and He cares for us, where was He when our city was drowning? In our shock, we wondered, where do people find the strength to bounce back after losing so much? We will address these questions today in this four-act episode, featuring four different perspectives from Hurricane Harvey. What we’re talking about today doesn’t just apply to the hurricanes that make headlines. This is for the storms we all experience in our daily lives as well. So, let’s get started.
ERIC: Act One: The Louisiana Cajun Navy.
VOICE: The Cajun Navy has arrived. People need to be rescued everywhere, so we’re just trying to get here and stay organized. We can’t just jump in our boats and just run out there. We’re waiting on team captains, people that are coming out here to take us to the different areas they need us to go in. There’s even prisoners that have to be transported, so it may get a little rough, a little dangerous, but you guys just keep praying for us. Keep us wrapped in prayer.
ERIC: I’m calling you guys from the Maybe God Podcast HQ here in my mancave, in my basement.
ERIC: I just wanted to catch our listeners up on a couple of things that they may not know about y’all. The Louisiana Cajun Navy, AKA the Galveston Cajun Navy, came to our aid during Hurricane Harvey and the months following and you guys rescued countless people on your boats, and you left everything behind to come and help out our city. While you were here, you guys started attending my church, The Story Houston—
[AUDIO RECORDING START 00:04:19]
ERIC: These are our representatives from the Cajun Navy today. They’re here to worship with us.
[AUDIO RECORDING END 00:04:23]
ERIC: Having you all around just gave our community such a shot in the arm. It was like, seeing, sort of, Jesus in your midst when you guys walked in the door because of all that you all were doing. We’ll be forever grateful.
CLYDE: Of all the things I’ve been told in my life, being mistaken for Jesus for a minute, that’s our aim every day, you know?
COREY: That’s exactly it.
CLYDE: Pastor Eric, He did it right. I know I did it forty years my way and when I started to do it His way everything fell into place.
ERIC: Clyde Cane says his destiny found him in 2016 when his hometown of Hammond, Louisiana was flooded. He rescued his then ten-year-old daughter with his own boat. And then he just kept going, even though he says he’s scared to death of drowning. Once the rescue phase of that thousand-year flood was over, Clyde and his friend Corey started serving meals to flood victims out of the back of Clyde’s Chevy Tahoe. They served eleven thousand meals in eleven days. That was the beginning of the Louisiana Cajun Navy, which today has grown into a network of over two hundred and sixty-five thousand active followers. A year ago, when most people wanted out of Harvey’s path, Clyde and Corey drove into it, to establish their teams rescue operation in Houston.
[AUDIO RECORDING END 00:05:32]
COREY: Alright Clyde, we’re drifting. Go that way.
CLYDE: I’m not drifting. Wow, we’re all going to go under man, look at this.
COREY: Don’t let that wake get you.
CLYDE: I’m not going to let it get me.
COREY: Ain’t nothing a Cajun can’t do, bro.
CLYDE: Ain’t nothing at this time.
[AUDIO RECORDING END 00:05:49]
ERIC: When you all look back to nearly a year ago now, what impressed you or what memories do you have about the Houstonians at that time?
CLYDE: For me it’s always the same. I get to witness how we’re all supposed to be. How everyone comes together and they forget race, color, ethnic group, religion or anything and everyone just gets out there. Just helping your fellow man and your neighbor and just rescuing. That always shows up. We’ve seen that so many times.
ERIC: What’s amazing to me and everybody that hears about the Cajun Navy is that y’all – this is not like a job – y’all have real lives and families.
CLYDE: Right. Most certainly.
ERIC: In the off season, Corey installs home flooring and cabinets. Clyde is a graphic designer and photographer, but today he says the Cajun Navy has become a year-round project for him.
CLYDE: There’s families that, they have storms every day. There’s someone whose house burned down or there’s a homeless family. With 260,000 followers you never know who is out there listening or watching when we present an opportunity to bless someone.
ERIC: Wow. Both of y’all really have been through so many storms now. Is there a silver lining here?
COREY: When you pull up to an area and someone is basically thinking, all right, am I going to die, is this going to be my last time here, you pull up on people in their most frantic and most disturbed state of being that you can possibly see them in and we try to put them in a smile. The only way to do that is to basically show them love. You walk up to them and you don’t even like—here, we’ve got all this stuff, would you like some food or whatever, and they’re usually like smiling at that point. They were just worried about all of the necessities of life. Seeing them at a state of relief makes my heart smile because that’s part of the cause of what I’m doing. I’ve been called to do something.
COREY: Sometimes I even ask myself, man, why did I do this? Or, man, God, did you really tell me to do this? At times, things can get nervous and nerve wracking.
CLYDE: But then you see the smile and…every time we get to that house or we get that person, whether it be in the storm or afterwards, and we show up with food and everything and it’s that look, that face, that look that you just relieved them of their suffering. That’s addictive. That’s infectious.
ERIC: I hear a lot of people say where was God when the storm rolled through and why would a loving God allow something like this to happen? And then, I hear your faith and you’ve seen way more of these storms than I have. I’m just curious how you see God at work in a storm like Harvey.
COREY: Honestly, you see God’s work after the storm, honestly.
CLYDE: I don’t believe God caused the storm. It’s how we deal with every circumstance; everything comes our way. Your true colors come out when the bottom drops out. And that’s what we see. We find that even those that are the most lost, man, they find God in the storm. You never know who God is sometimes until God is all you have.
ERIC: Act two: Patty the Pig. Lester Morrow lives in Plumb Grove, Texas, population 654. He’s been a middle school teacher and a coach for more than 20 years. In 2017, he was voted Teacher of the Year of his entire school district, but Lester’s true claim to fame is his side job. Millions of people all over the world know Lester because of his passion for raising and caring for farm animals.
LESTER: They call me Noah, not because of the ark, but because of the twofers. I have two of everything. I don’t know why, but I like my animals to have a partner, and so, I have two goats, and I have two sheep, and I have two pigs, and I have two of everything.
ERIC: When the Maybe God team ventured out to Plumb Grove in the middle of August to meet with Lester and his now famous farm animals, we were greeted by donkeys and a man on a four-wheeler wearing a Yeti baseball cap and a shirt that read, “Keep calm and raise animals.” Lester was the embodiment of southern hospitality. He couldn’t have been more excited to welcome us to the farm and to tell us all about the animals that he calls his babies.
LESTER: You know, when you wake up to them and you love on them and you feed them, they look to you as daddy, and you look to them as your kids, in a way, you know? It doesn’t matter what kind of animal. You’ve got your ducks and your chickens and your dogs and your donkeys and it doesn’t matter. You come home and they come running to see you. You become attached to them. There’s your family. And you love them. You love them so much.
ERIC: Lester lives on a pristine 500-acre farm that belonged to his great-great grandfather who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. It’s been passed down from father to son for over 150 years. Today, his brother, and his parents, his aunt and uncle all live together on the property. The farm sits a mile east of the San Jacinto River, but it’s more elevated than surrounding areas. During recent floods, Lester’s farm stayed high and dry on its own little island. He expected the same thing to happen during hurricane Harvey, but as the rain kept falling, the water kept rising, threatening to flood the farm for the first time in Lester’s life.
LESTER: Water was about up to your knees or so, and so I opened up all my pastures, which I had always been told to do, let all the animals out. I took a bucket of feed and I shook it, and I called them all into the inside yard, which is the highest ground, and I had a deck. A four-foot deck that went around my above ground pool. And so, I called up all the small-legged animals, the ‘littles,’ I call them, and I got all the littles up, poured the feed out, and I was just hoping they would stay there. You couldn’t put them on the back of a four-wheeler, you know? And you don’t have a trailer. And if you did have a trailer big enough there’s nowhere to pull it to. The roads are blocked. There’s nowhere to go, you know? So helpless. And they’re so helpless. Once all the animals were taken care of the best I could, I got my dogs, my son, we got on the four-wheeler, you know it’s made for high water, and we took off.
ERIC: His aunt and uncles stayed on the property in their two-story home while the rest of the family fled for safety. When the flood finally forced them to evacuate, they took a picture of Lester’s farm on their way out and sent it to him. The water had topped his six-foot fence.
LESTER: And at that point, that’s when I realized my little animals were gone. I had begun to mourn them then. I was gone for three days, waiting for water to recede, and once it finally did and I got word that the roads were opened back up, we came right home. I came home to bury my animals. I came home to find them and hopefully bury them.
LESTER: Whoo, it’s going to be a mess. I’m going to, we’re going to get wet, baby, you ready? Oh my goodness.
LESTER: Pretty much, I had my phone out and I was just recording all the debris and the junk.
LESTER: Yeah, obviously my goat fence captured a lot of this stuff. Look at this over here. I don’t know where all this stuff floated in from.
LESTER: I was about right here, in this point, when I looked up and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move.
LESTER: Oh my God! There’s Patty! Patty!
LESTER: And, lo and behold, there comes Miss Patty, my female, pot-bellied pig. My emotions were going crazy. I was laughing, I was crying. I—just dumbfounded.
LESTER: Ok, man up, Lester. Oh, there’s Meg! I see Meg. All the horses. Ok, oh my God, babies come here! I’m so sorry we—I’m so sorry we couldn’t help y’all.
LESTER: It was a mystery trying to wonder how those that did survive actually made it, because seeing how high that water got, looking around seeing how much debris and junk, no one—with the force of that moving through here. Looking to the left and seeing a home right here that used to be on blocks that was now just in pieces and seeing a small little goat and a pot-bellied pig, that somehow, though all of that somehow survived. I’m sorry, this is embarrassing. To this day, I don’t know how in the world that could have happened. Weird emotion is going through me right now, sorry. I gotta man up again, Lester.
ERIC: Man up, Lester. That might be my favorite line of all time. Any time I have to do something really hard, or if I start to get emotional, I’ll tell myself, man up, Lester, and then I’ll get on with it. Lester is like a lot of guys; emotions tend to make him uncomfortable. So, as he talked with us, whenever he began to cry, he’d start laughing to cover it up.
LESTER: Patty! Oh my God, baby. How did you survive? Patty! I know you’re so scared, baby.
ERIC: That video he took with his iPhone of the emotional reunion with his surviving farm animals went around the world in a matter of days. A year since the storm, Lester only has theories about how Patty the pig, Meg the goat, and Imogene the donkey survived while so many others didn’t.
LESTER: Patty, my pot-bellied pig, was a swimmer. When she was younger, I took her in the pool with me all the time. She loved to swim, so I know Patty can swim. Now, how she can swim for three days. I don’t know, but she could also float. A lot of times in the pool it was cute to watch her. Patty would swim around, he little legs moving, and once she got tired, she would become like a cork.
LESTER: Meg, oh, come here, Meg. Come on, baby, I know you’re scared. How did you survive? Come here Maggy, come here.
LESTER: Now Meg, the little goat, I have a theory on Meg. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen Meg jump up on something and then jump up on the back of the donkey, Imogene, my donkey that survived. Meg rides animals. She likes to ride around, you know, she’s a goat. Goats are playful, and I’m wondering if it’s possible that Meg could have got on her back and rode out those two or three days the water was as high as it was. Looking around, I don’t know where else she could have gone.
LESTER: Baby, are your legs ok? Ok, I’m thinking her legs are broke. I am so, so sorry for you. I don’t think she can get up.
LESTER: This is Imogene right here. She is my surviving donkey.
VOICE: So, what do you know about how she survived?
LESTER: I don’t. I know that when I came home from the flood she was lying in the front yard and she couldn’t get up. She was just so dehydrated she couldn’t walk. I had to slowly nurse her back to health, and a few weeks later she’s up and good. She is fine now. She’s pregnant, too. Look at that belly. Can you see that baby bump? Imogene, you’re a good girl. What I like about here is she’s just so sweet. Look at that face. How can you just not love that face? And these ears. I love this girl.
ERIC: As with any good viral video, Lester focused on the animals, but his home was also destroyed.
LESTER: The water got into my home, it got to the six-foot level. So, my house was completely stripped.
VOICE: Did you have insurance?
LESTER: Oh, no. No. Most of the homes here in Plumb Grove were not insured. We’re an older community, we don’t have a lot of mortgaged homes, and so once your home is paid off, people drop insurance. I took whatever the money that FEMA had given, and then some donations that had come in, and I just began to get back to work on it.
ERIC: Lester rebuilt his home on his own, which is remarkable considering he is not much of a handyman. First, he watched hours and hours of YouTube videos, then he stripped the walls down to the studs, pulled out all the insulation, and removed all the carpet in his house so he could pump out all the water. A year later, there’s still work to be done.
LESTER: It was neat the way the rooms slowly came together. At some point, finally you have a living room, and now you have a kitchen, and now you have a bedroom. I still have two rooms to go. I finally kind of—I’ve run out of money and I’ve run out of time and I’ve run out of energy. I’m tired. I’m just so tired.
ERIC: Lester says the first half of 2017 was one of the happiest times of his life; Teacher of the Year for his entire district, healthy kids and a great love life, and then Harvey hit. In three days’ time, he hit what he calls rock bottom. He didn’t just lose his animals, he lost everything in his home; keep sakes like his kids’ baby teeth and locks of their hair, even a few love letters from his first girlfriend, all gone.
LESTER: You see my dead animals. You see a home destroyed. You see everything I ever owned out in the front yard in a big pile. Later to be buried in a huge hole. Everything. And so, you wonder to yourself, where is God in all of this? This is my home. Lots of people quit. They’re not going to come home and clean up and rebuild and start over. I’m not going to lie, it was tempting. But I just couldn’t see myself quitting on the animals that had survived and quitting on my home. The house my kids grew up in. I didn’t quit. I’m not going to say I saw God in that, but what I saw God in was the fact that I had strength and he gave me the wisdom to push, to push, and to be blessed with what I have left. I’m blessed with what I have left. I lost some stuff, but I have a home still here, and I’ve rebuilt it. And my animals, they’re here.
ERIC: Lester admits that most days, he still feels weak inside. He thinks he might be struggling with depression, but he chooses to call it Harvey. In spite of all of this, Lester insists this experience has made him a better man.
LESTER: I’ll tell you how I’m strong. I’m a better teacher. The old Mr. Morrow, the teacher, you know, and the coach, I was probably hard on kids, and I pushed for excellence, and I demanded a lot out of them. I didn’t accept excuses; sleeping in my class, I don’t think so. And so, what I realized now, after the flood, is that some of these kids are going through their own little versions of rock bottom. Maybe mom and dad are fighting, or divorcing, or something, if they even have mom and dad. And so, when I see them come into my classroom, the old me would just wake your ass up. Uh, uh, not in this class. You don’t know what you’re messing with. But the new me, the guy that came back to school after the flood realized what it feels like. I’m not going to be another thorn in their side. I’m going to try to allow them time and encourage them to push through whatever it is, you know?
ERIC: As he looks back at the year that changed everything, Lester is quick to point to another bright spot. Something he says he will never forget. Pre-Harvey, the white folks lived on one side of Plumb Grove road with the Hispanic population living on the other. Lester says the two sides didn’t used to mix much, but when Harvey hit, the white residents were affected the most. After the storm, Lester watched as his Hispanic neighbors opened their homes to white families. Hearing Lester tell that part of the story was another reminder of how sometimes the worst circumstances bring out the best in people. I can’t explain why it takes a storm to wash away all our superficial preoccupations. But Harvey reminded us who we really are: human beings created in the image of a loving God who asks only two things of us; to love Him, and to look after each other.
LESTER: Come on littles, come on. This is Meg here, a little black and white goat. Come on, baby. Meg is the little goat that made it. That’s the bigger mystery.
ERIC: Miss Patty, the pot-bellied pig, passed away a few months ago. She’s buried in a pasture with her own headstone. When Lester’s video went viral, and Miss Patty, running through the storm water to greet him became a star, people all over the world reached out to Lester on Facebook. Total strangers were rooting for him. He says those new friends showed him the support that he needed to keep going. To keep rebuilding his home. Some people sent Lester donations, while others send him new animals to love.
LESTER: Come on, let’s go, let’s get a snack. Come on. Who is hungry? Come on.
ERIC: Today he has goats, ducks, pigs, a baby alpaca, and six donkeys. His new Facebook friends, they helped him create the Ima Survivor Donkey Sanctuary, named after Imogene.
LESTER: People have heard about this neat thing going on over here. This little farmer who loves these animals and he’s trying to rebuild his farm and they’re giving me animals to rebuild that little fur family. Those are from strangers. A lot of them just total strangers. That is how God works in mysterious ways, if you ask me.
ERIC: Act 3: a Harvey wedding. The news media reported on the heroic efforts of Mayor Turner, Judge Emmett, the Cajun Navy, and Mattress Mack, but I didn’t hear much about the groups I saw filling the gaps where no one else was. They were the first ones to show up in people’s houses and the last ones out. Churches, communities of faith, and not just mine but all over Houston. While people were on their phones figuring out insurance and filing with FEMA, churches filled their homes with volunteers to muck out the debris before the mold took over. When Red Cross workers needed places to stay, communities of faith opened their doors, for months, in some cases. Churches held donation drives. Church members opened their homes to help total strangers. Christians helped victims who couldn’t apply for relief because of their immigration status. And in the case of Shelley and Chris Holland, the church helped them pulled off their dream wedding in Harvey’s wake.
MINISTER: Chris and Shelly would like to welcome you today. What a beautiful day. Who would have ever known a week ago that we would be able to be carrying this wedding through, but God?
SHELLEY: We set the wedding for September 2 because we wanted to have a Labor Day weekend wedding so we could always have a long anniversary weekend. When we found this chapel, it looked like I was dropped down from Little House on the Prairie or something. It was just so cute and wooden inside and white on the outside.
ERIC: Chris and Shelley Holland had been planning their dream wedding for months. When hurricane Harvey rolled through town, it was exactly one week before their big day. As they watched the water rise outside their home, their pre-wedding jitters rose too. Three days before the wedding, the pastor’s assistant called them to let them know that their wedding chapel could only be reached by boat.
CHRIS: We never decided to cancel the wedding. We knew that we were going to get married. We had already booked our honeymoon in Maui. We had plane tickets; we were going. We knew we were getting married. We didn’t know if we were going to go find a preacher, get married on Skype. It was just, I wanted to have the wedding that was in Shelley’s heart. I wanted the wedding that she desired.
ERIC: As any bride would be, Shelley was devastated. Not only by all the destruction around her, but now by the news that her dream wedding would be called off if they couldn’t find another venue. The pastor’s assistant promised they were doing everything in their power to find a solution.
CHRIS: They said, ‘hey, were working on something, trust us.’ This is a day before our wedding, two days before our wedding. We’re like, trust you? But we need to know something. They said, ‘no, trust us.’
ERIC: So they did. And just one day before their wedding, they got a call with directions to a new chapel.
CHRIS: They said, ‘but, you can’t go by there yet because everyone is so scattered from the storms. You just have to show up the day of and just trust that the doors will be open by 10am.’ Well, the wedding was at 11. At 10am, the entire bridal party and guests showed up outside. I’m sitting in the back of the cab of a truck, Shelley is on her way, and the doors aren’t open. But at 10:01, some blessed gentleman, I don’t know who he was, appeared from inside of the church, flung the doors open and waved and said, ‘everyone come in.’ The chapel was undamaged, and it was beautiful, so breathtakingly beautiful. It was exactly everything we wanted.
MINISTER: I do by the right as a minister of the Gospel, and by the authority of the great State of Texas, now pronounce you man and wife.
ERIC: After the wedding, Chris and Shelley wanted a photo that would capture everything that they’d been through. With the wedding photographer in tow, they waded into the water that stood still in the street and took a picture that would become a symbol of the storm and the city that overcame it. In the photo, Chris has his pants rolled up. He’s holding his wife, Shelley, in her white gown, high out of the water. He’s kissing her, passionately. It looks like a scene right out of The Notebook. But this is real life, and it’s even more romantic.
CHRIS: And so we went and got her dress gross and wet and I waded off in the water and picked her up and it never slowed down after that. We went to Maui on our honeymoon and people were talking about the picture there not knowing it was us. This thing went around the world to every single continent and no one saw our faces because we were kissing.
CHRIS: It was a symbol, it was not us, it was a symbol.
SHELLEY: We were getting contacted by People magazine, by theknot.com, by all kinds of news people from around the world. This one lady offered me a job. We were quite overwhelmed and trying to keep up with responding to people, but also trying to just enjoy our honeymoon because we wanted to just make memories together.
CHRIS: To others, it said that love prevails. For us, was that we were going to get married come hell or high water, and the devil threw both of those at us, and we still got married. The first post I shared was, “HA-HA Harvey. We won.”
SHELLEY: It was really neat for us to see Houston come together the way they did and just how when there is a need, the church is so good about rising up and helping meet those needs. We were just real blessed during that season.
CHRIS: You know, in times of Christ, you never cease to see the world turn to God. And then when you see people of faith rise up and actually say, you know what, we were born for such a time as this, and they begin serving. Whether it was handing out cases of water, or if it was chopping down trees out of people’s yards, or if it was rescuing people in boats, or if it was just opening up the doors to a church for a place of refuge, it actually shows who God is. We serve a God that is not just sermons and good worship songs. He’s not all talk. He’s a God of action.
ERIC: Act 4: My thoughts on Harvey: speaking to my congregation at The Story Houston, one year after the storm.
ERIC: I had two questions on my mind that I wanted to talk about today. The first questions is, does God send storms? Those of you who know me know that I haven’t really been a believing Christian for very long, like five and a half years, more or less. I’ve always kind of struggled with the idea of a God who sends storms. I want God to be nicer than that, but if you believe in God and Jesus as the representation of God and the embodiment of God then you have to start taking the stuff Jesus said seriously and the stuff that’s in the Bible seriously. If you take the Bible seriously, there’s no getting around the idea that God does in fact send storms. He sends them.
ERIC: The question isn’t whether He sends them. If you are a person of faith, the question becomes, why does He send them? That’s a tougher one to answer. Why? Especially for those of you who are still struggling through the aftermath of losing everything. Why did God send this storm? I can’t be sure about this. I don’t claim to know 100% the mind and will of God, but I think it’s conceivable that God sends storms and that He sent this storm, in some way to teach us something about fear. You know everybody wants you to be scared because if they scare you, they have you. If the media finds a way to scare you, they’ve got your attention, and that’s all they need.
ERIC: If politicians find a way to scare you, either scare you of immigrants or to scare you about the president, or whatever side you’re on, if they scare you they’ve got you. You’re easily manipulated. If religious leaders find a way to scare you, scare you about Hell or the wrath of God, then they’ve got you. Everybody want’s you scared because when you’re scared you’re a slave. The most often repeated phrase in all the Bible is, ‘Do not be afraid.’ ‘Do not fear.’ God says through the prophet, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
ERIC: This is the essential struggle off faith; whether to fear the things that can harm the body, or take away our stuff, or rob us of our possessions, or change our five year plan, to be afraid or to trust. I think there may be many reasons why God allowed the storm to happen, but I think among them is the struggle for us as Houstonians is real. The struggle of materialism is real. Can we overcome our fear of losing our stuff or changing our plan? In the weeks that followed we kept finding these reasons to hold on to hope, reasons to cling to the possibility that we will overcome this storm after all. This storm that was worse than anything that any of us had ever seen before.
ERIC: We saw rescuers coming from all over the place, including here in Houston, Pasadena, Galveston, all the way from Louisiana, the Cajun Navy came to our rescue with their boats and their ice chests full of water and whatever else they had in their ice chests. And they saved us like heroes. They saved us from our homes, from our floods. They saved us and our kids and our families and our neighbors. And you know what they didn’t ask every single time they saved a citizen of this city? No rescuer asked for papers or documents or your politics, your orientation, your religion, or what language you speak or where you’re from. All they gave you was a hand and they took you to safety.
ERIC: We found hope in little things that were not so little at the time. I was out in the lobby out here squeegeeing the floor because we took a lot of water inside this building when these good ol’ boys from Colorado showed up in the biggest pick-up truck I’ve ever seen in my life and the back of their truck was full of diapers and feminine hygiene products, and all the kinds of things you don’t expect good ol’ boys to be carrying around with them. They said, ‘as soon as we heard Houston was in need, we hopped in our truck, loaded up, and headed south. We’ve been driving nonstop ever since.’ That meant the world to me.
ERIC: I remember this image floating around in the days that followed the worst of Harvey, of a groom holding his bride in the air and embracing her and kissing her on their wedding date. It’s a reminder that there’s more to hope for than what you think that’s important. It was a reminder to me of this New Testament image of Jesus as the bridegroom and His people as His bride, and how no matter what this world throws your way, no matter what storms come your way, no matter hell or high water, the bridegroom will have His bride and He will hold you up with His righteous right hand and embrace you and remind you everything is going to be ok. You can live this life choosing to trust that truth or you can live this life in fear and you can be owned. It is truly your choice. It is all of our decision.
JULIE: Maybe God is produced by Eric Huffman, Brandon Duke, and me, Julie Mirlicourtois. Our sound engineers are Pat Lowry and Aubrey Snider. Our editor is Brittany Holland. Music is by Nathan Bonnes, and our intern is Caroline Love. If you have questions or doubts you’d like us to address in upcoming episodes of Maybe God, email us at [email protected], or start a discussion with us on our Facebook page, Maybe God Podcast. And don’t forget to subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app.