As expected, there have been many stories, both of tragedy and heroism, coming from Houston and other parts of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The various accounts of rescue and kindness are reminders that many people instinctively choose to care about other people.

I’ve also found myself thinking about the various shelters where people have gone when their houses were flooded or seriously damaged. Providing shelter is an involved and complex part of human life as people help take responsibility for others physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When an individual or family has to remain in the shelter for several days, the challenge for these people can become almost unbearable.

There have been a few times I’ve helped provide shelter. The most obvious was after the blizzard of 1978. As for needing shelter myself, there have only been a few brief occasions when I had to get out of a storm or find refuge when traveling.

Sometimes I think that providing shelter is among the highest of human activities. It becomes a distinct blessing to the recipients, but it also can bring out the best in those providing the shelter.

“For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress;
Shelter from the rain, shade from the heat.”
Isaiah 25:4


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