Yesterday was different. It was Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish New Year which is marked by the sounds of the Shofar. It was also the first Monday after the one-year anniversary of Harvey flooding Houston and devastating much of southeast Texas, and it was the Monday before (the eve of) Tuesday, September 11th, a day our nation suffered the horrors of terror and tragedy.

Monday, September 10, 2018, Houstonians awoke to unrelenting rains. Again, Hurricane season announced her pride and prejudice with low ceilings of mad grey clouds. Houston was swallowed in dense grey hues, each cloud belching with fury her driving rains to banish any hint of the horizon from her sight. This Monday morning was no ordinary darling of summer, she howled in displeasure bearing her gloom; any hope of a dazzling mid-summer morn had long been swallowed up in her fury and boon. She never doubted that she could hide our towering figures of granite and steel, keeping our eyes burdened with wet vision, massive drops of raining beating into unending rivers of taillights and flash floods.

Flash flooding in Houston is an all-too-familiar reality that for many, no longer exists in the realm of possibility, but now serves as the warden of washed away dreams. Today, many Houstonians are still recovering from Harvey. There are churches in my own neighborhood who are not scheduled to be back into their sanctuaries until late 2019 or early 2020. My own home is still in repair, certain work yet to be completed.

The Terror of Hopelessness is a subject frequently mentioned, but woefully truant in deliberative consideration.

Monday reminded me that it’s in the daily course of doing life that the “suddenly’s” of our day can usher us into the “unexpected” and “unknown” of our fears.

My drive downtown was a relatively early one. I had loaded up my wife and darling grandbaby boy to negotiate my Monday morning commute. It had been a nerve-racking one. The relentless rains seemed somewhat Harvey-esque; falling with a particular fury and absolute heaviness. The traffic, snarled. Stop and go, go and stop; a symphony of hard-hitting raindrops, squeaky breaks, and a happy guy with a braggadocios bass. The commute was a veritable dance of cars seeking cover, victims periled by failing umbrellas and unhurried wipers.

At last, I had made my destination and cared for those at my appointment, now to gather strength for our return to Champions. I hoped that our drive home would be easier on nerve and shorter in time than our commute to downtown. We started out on I-10, navigating our way to I-59, planning to exit 610 to Hardy Toll Road. I was traveling in the middle lane with a truck to my left and a car on my right, sandwiched in a trio of traffic headed northbound. As I crested an overpass just before Collinsworth, there it was. A large piece of steel had fallen from some large truck and was squarely in the middle of my lane of traffic. I could not move to the right, nor to the left and with the driving rain dare not slam on my breaks. So, instantly I decelerated, lifting my foot from the accelerator, I could only hope to straddle the steel object praying that my car’s clearance would be able to avoid any damage.

If the sound wasn’t unnerving enough, the jolt most certainly was. After the impact, I hurriedly, yet safely negotiated my way to the right shoulder of Eastex Freeway. At once, we checked to make sure everyone in the car was safe, then attempting to free ourselves from this impaled intruder, we made our exit. The vehicle automatically programmed itself to the “N” (neutral) in the drivetrain. I could not engage the transmission and thus had lost all momentum and forward motion. We coasted down the exit ramp and thankfully made it to the right lane of the feeder, where I was sure we were safe.

However, soon my confidence in that perception of “safety” was shattered. We were stalled, no longer moving, just after the Collingsworth exit. As I looked in my rearview mirror, the reality of my present predicament made the horror of my encounter with this road hazard pale. Drivers of vehicles, large and small, were instinctively exiting the freeway at full speed and whipping over to the far right lane, preparing for their turn east on Collingsworth. There we sat, stalled in the middle of the right lane. The rain was unremitting. The visibility was horrible. The car flashers, apparently mute. Drivers seem to exit the freeway aiming right for us. After the first two or three near misses, I instinctively jumped out of the car to wave over all oncoming traffic. It mattered little that the driving rain contested my will to protect my darling babies.

It is in these kinds of moments that the harrowing reality of our “immediate circumstance” must meet our faith in our prayer-answering God. As excited and drenched as I was, I knew that my Lord heard me, saw me, and was with me. I serve an  on-time God. After ten minutes or so, a good Samaritan pulled over in the blinding rain and got out and helped me push my automobile to a safer, less hazardous place. He sacrificed his time, his clothing, his appointment, all of it to lend a helping hand to a brother in need. That man was a God-sent, on-time man.

Remember, when we look only at the groove(s)” in our lives, we most often discern the pain and fixate on the frustration of the depressions in our lives. We miss the peaks of wonder, the high places of our deliverance. We are too well aware that it is the valley experiences in our lives that discolor our sheen and shine; they matte that which was once glossy, they disrupt that which was so slick and fine. Grooves make no sense to the natural eye, but when the finger of the Creator touches each groove in our life with His Holy Spirit – a sweet symphony erupts – as the sweet incense of our praise.

Friend, the world is waiting to hear the Gospel from you. Your praise of Him matters. They await to meet the Savior of your day. Today, your adoration and honor belongs to the One who made you His orchestral wonder, whose made you His image of grace.

So…Singer, sing. Instrument, play.
Be played in the chorus of Redemption’s refrain, sing loudly of His Salvation’s claim.
Sing boldly. Play, when it’s raining. Sing, when you’re soaking wet. Sing, when you’re stationary and stuck. Play, when you’re broken down and depressed. Sing!

Play and Sing!

And remember, don’t ever let the fury of your present crisis silence the symphony of your eternal praise. You are the Maestro’s symphonic sound of marvelous mercy, His anthem of favor and grace!

SING and PLAY!  A lost man or woman, facing the failure of their past and valleys of their present, require you to be a part of the symphony of their salvation. SING, even if you’re in the rain!

Pastor Hutchins

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