One of my favorite history books of late is about the Comanche who resided primarily in the territory of Texas. I was unfamiliar with Texas history from 1300 - 1890. The book, Empire of the Summer Moon, reveals the fascinating and turbulent history of that region. In summary, the United States wanted to colonize the territory west of the Mississippi. Land was granted to families who would settle there if they could maintain a farm. There was little warning about the native people of the land; except to watch out. As families took the land and moved west, they found themselves in the middle of the great Comanche empire. The name Comanche still sends shivers down my spine. They were terrifying - attacking only at night, consistently during a full moon, they were considered ghosts who attacked like locusts. The settlers were no match for their numbers or their fierce determination to retain ancestral lands.
Letters were written for help against the Comanche which went unanswered. The U.S. infantry, still reeling from the Civil War, could not send reinforcements. So the settlers were left to band together with grit, tenacity, and faith. They created safe communities that co-existed with the Comanche for a while, but that conceals an unflattering story about the Federal Government which kept faith neither with the settlers nor the Comanche. Perhaps one reason why Texas refers to itself as a Republic more or less at odds with the Union stems from their origin: the English-speaking inhabitants, given land by the government, quickly learned that if they were going to survive, they were going to have to band together and figure things out on their own.
The stories and images we are receiving from Houston today are that grit, tenacity and faith are still present in Texas. The current residents didn't spend time fretting about when federal help would arrive; they started taking care of their neighbors and banding together in shelters.
Hurricane Harvey has shown me two things. If there is a natural disaster, don't wait for the Federal Government to help. (An echo of the lesson of Katrina) The second thing is this. During times of disaster, we see neighbor helping neighbor. In a Christian sense, we are seeing love of others in a very real and practical life-saving way. Religion in the name of Jesus is caring for the widow and orphan, it is caring for those in need. Thanks be to God we are seeing His love in the way Texas is dealing with this disaster.
May God continue to bless, uphold, strengthen and give hope to all in wake and aftermath of Harvey.
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