Saturday, August 11, 2012

Floods

                 
"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him" Isaiah 59:19

I snapped this photo in North Carolina a week after heavy rains from a hurricane flooded the banks of the adjacent river and inundated the park with several feet of swirling water. This park would host no picnics, ballgames or outdoor weddings for many weeks -- or even months.

We can all expect to encounter floods on the journey of life, but how in the world can you expect to find indwelling joy and peace a Christian is suppose to have in the midst of that flood??

Do you often feel like your life is being flooded with problems? Sometimes it seems like life hands out one blow after another. One problem doesn't get resolved before another problem is nipping at its heels. Sometimes we just feel like we're drowning.

My 93-year-old mother fell two years ago while working in her yard and broke a hip. Her life is not now nor will it ever be the same again. She feels as if a flood has crushed life as she knew it.  Each day is a struggle for her and she is not a happy camper. How can she be expected to have joy in the final stages of her journey when she can barely navigate her walker and her failing memory is a constant worry to her?

Flood waters can be devastating. They can ruin homes and vehicles and cause loss of life. Flood waters can also be beneficial -- as in the annual flooding of the Nile River and its spread of rich soil into nearby fields and the flooding of deserts resulting in miles of lush green and colorful flowers.

Even though my own life has been only mildly dampened by recent problems, difficulties flooding the lives of family and friends (and don't forget the swirl of pandemonium flooding the entire world) have splashed over me to such an extent I'm sometimes gasping for breath and looking around for a boat to lift me from the rising tide as well. How can I cultivate an attitude of peace and joy when I'm surrounded by waves of suffering?

In her book, "Jesus Calling," Sarah Young writes as if God is speaking to us, saying: "Though many things feel random and wrong, remember that I am sovereign over everything. I can fit everything into a pattern for good, but only to the extent that you trust Me. Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be."

Numerous scriptures remind us that God is the ultimate Life Guard and His purpose for allowing flood waters in our lives is not to stand back and watch us drown. Nor does He want us to flail about in the rising depths, sputtering and gasping for breath in defeat. He longs for us to rest in Him -- trusting Him to keep us afloat and bring us to the safety of dry land. "...He drew me out of many waters...the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me" Psalm 18:16, 19

I'll be the first to admit I don't have all the answers to cultivating peace and joy when our journey takes us through the flood. But, the sovereign God who created you and me and every inch of floodwater has a plan for every soggy minute we must endure before we're back on dry land. I won't pretend it's easy -- in fact, you can be sure it is often unbelievably hard, but God does have a plan and, believe it or not, getting wet now and then is the best way to grow fruit for His glory.  Let Him splash joy and peace into your life in His way and His time. 

"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious! Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power...' He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot...For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver...we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance...God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God" from Psalm 66.

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