I’m in the heartland, where the latest risk to my life was almost catching on fire while lighting a paper lantern. My evening enemies are no-see-um bugs and mosquitoes. My daytime struggles involve teaching the components of a literary essay. My troubles seem so puny.
My blessings seem too loud: My sunset colored evening amidst the cooling of the gloaming. My home that’s dry and a family that’s tucked safe into cozy beds seems too large too me tonight, too rich, too much. Not when there’s too much devastation happening to my fellow countrymen.
What do I know of watching waters rise higher and higher until they consume my home, my shelter, my refuge? What do I know of natural disasters? They seem unnatural. Devastating. Irregular. Unwelcome. Not natural, not expected, not normal. Not fair.
I don’t know what it’s like to suddenly be without home or roof over my head. When my children were small and we would have safety drills, they wanted to grab their cherished belongings so our safety drills were too long, with much hollering and concern. My children couldn’t grasp the magnitude of a serious disaster and the idea of leaving their treasures behind filled their hearts with indignation.
Belongings can be replaced but people cannot. And so we are here: I am safe in my second story bedroom: cozy in a chair, feet propped up on the bed, and cat purring. I’m surrounded by all things familiar: pictures, books, kids, dust bunnies, and a hundred year old floor covered in scars.
And someone, somewhere is surrounded by strangers. Possibly clinging to nothing except what they hold in their hearts and my heart breaks and cries for those affected by devastation to know this:
God sees you.
He hears your cry.
He is with you in the devastation. He is holding you close and whispering his love into your ear. He is holding you upright and he sees your heart breaking. He sees the shock and anger and fear that threaten to overwhelm. He sees and he cares. He calls you to himself in the midst of the devastation and promises to be your everything.
He is your bread of life and your fountain that never runs dry. He may feed you the bread of affliction, but he is with you in the darkness. He encompasses you and rallies around you and is for you, not against you. Cling to him, rely on him, let him carry you through.
When the waters of doubt and fear and anger overwhelm you and feel like the truth, know this Truth: God is. He was. And He will be. And you can take his faithfulness, steadfastness, and love and build your life on him. He wants to be the One who handles your fear and anger, and he wants to take the honest, gut-wrenching fear that you’re feeling from your shoulders and be the truth that sets you free.
Could he have diverted the storm? Yes. Does he still care for you? Absolutely. Does he still love you? Unequivocally. Does he still have good for you? Yes and yes and yes again. He is only good. He is your rock in the storm. And he hears your heart.
God hears our hearts. He sees us in the darkness and offers himself to be our light. I know that there are times when hope seems impossible to find, but God says that with him all things are possible. Even hope. Hope is Jesus. Hope is resting in who he says he is. He is peace. He is comfort. He is the rock we stand on when all else is sinking ground.
May God hold you close and may you make him famous in whatever you face today: emotional flood waters, literal flood waters, or unexpected disappointments. I’m praying for us all.