My family and I just returned from a cruise originating out of Galveston, Texas on Sunday 8/20/17. Hurricane Harvey had dissipated just prior to our departure. As the week went on, we learned that Harvey had gained in strength, and in his unpredictable path, returned to the Galveston area. Our week long cruise was scheduled to return back to Galveston on Sunday 8/27. Our Captain felt there would be a window of opportunity to reach our port, but this did not happen. Instead, we anchored out at sea in the Gulf of Mexico to wait Harvey out. During that time, we learned we would not be able to return to the port in Galveston due to Harvey's fierceness. This was a moment in time completely out of our control. We realized we were utterly helpless, and could only rely on God. In these moments, the Scripture hidden in our hearts became very important. Since our family listens to Christian radio 99% of the time while driving, my husband remembered and sang the following words to a song by Ryan Stevenson:
"In the eye of the storm
You remain in control
And in the middle of the war
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor
When my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me
In the eye of the storm"
How comforting it is to know that God is always there - even thousands of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico outside a disastrous storm! As a Christian, I want to fully rely on God, but admit in my humanness, I like to be in charge. But, this was a moment in time completely out of my control.
I know that God says He is with us wherever we are. “I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell in the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength support me.” (Psalm 139 7-10 NLT) God protects us wherever we are. We were able to port in Miami Florida two days later, and after a couple of flights, we are safe at home.
Thank you, Jesus, for being right with my family on that cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. Thank you for all the friends and family You've placed in our lives that upheld our family in prayer over this past week. Our experience with Hurricane Harvey is nothing compared to what the people of Texas are going through. But I know You are right there with them as they struggle to get back on their feet after this fierce storm. I know you have a plan. Amen.
- Nikki Verdill
(Editor's Note: To see how you can help with relief efforts or to donate, click the Samaritans Purse link below.)