October 10, 2006

Holding Fast to His Promise

"I establish my covenant with you: Never again will life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a food to destroy the earth." --Genesis 9:11

Last month, my hometown marked the 7th anniversary of "The Flood". The one that creeps into our conversations at least once a month (or so it seems), as in, "I'm sorry, sir, but we can't access your old file. We lost it in the flood." Or, "How high did you say the water in your office was?" (6' 8"). Or, "They relocated their business after the flood."

You see, our entire down - and by entire town, I mean the post office, City Hall, the telephone company, the electric company, the oil company, the funeral home, the banks, the waste water plant, and our primary industry which contributes the most to our economy - were all under at least 6 feet of water. I can't even begin to describe it in words, but the images still haunt me. My job wasn't affected, but my husband's was for a brief time. We were blessed. We had close friends who struggled through the loss of a business in their busiest season and at the height of their inventory. Unimaginable. Horrible. Devastating.

More than 100 families lost their homes. FEMA became a household word. Many are finally putting their lives back together.

Through the entire experience was that people banded together. God was glorified. Many proclaimed His Name. Through the struggle, He was there.

Just last week, a co-worker and I were discussing the fact that we'll never stop talking about the flood. Then came yesterday. And now, we'll have to specify which flood we're talking about.

My town is once again under water. The river is expected to crest this morning. Not as high as 7 years ago. But R just called to tell me that from what he can see, our office has about 8" of water. Other business have not fared nearly as well.

Fortunately, we had more warning this time. Most businesses spent Sunday evening and yesterday morning getting everything out of the buildings. We moved all of the furniture, files, and computers out of our office. I'm able to set up shop in my boss' home, and be nearly fully functional. The town should recover in a few months, rather than years.

I'm running on little sleep, lots of adrenaline and coffee. The task is overwhelming, and we haven't even begun. Yet, a song by Casting Crowns keeps running through my head,

I will praise You in this storm, and I will lift my hands.
You are Who you Are, no matter where I am.
And every tear I cry, You hold in Your hands.
You never left my side, and though my heart is torn,
I will praise You in this storm.

I WANT to praise God in this storm. But more than that, I want others to praise Him. And that's going to be tough. How do you tell someone who's lost their business AGAIN during the fall retail season that God is in control...how do they trust Him when they hold Him completely responsible and feel He must be wicked or He wouldn't have allowed this to happen again? How do you comfort someone who's lost a home AGAIN when they've finally gotten settled?

My mind is reeling. As the first HAZMAT truck appeared yesterday and the news helicopters buzzed overhead, all I could think about was "Why, God? Why do this AGAIN? These people need to know You're here and that You're good." And the song comes back into my mind.

He reminded me, it's easy to praise Him when life is good. I do that all the time. Now, it's time for me to praise Him to others, even when life is senseless. When His promises seem to be nothing but lies and false hope. When it just seems too awful to be true.

So I'm asking you, please pray for my small area of Virginia. Please pray that the Christians here can serve God as He wants during this time. That we can shine His light in this hopelesly dark situation. That we ourselves can believe He is worthy of all praise...and that we can praise Him and testify to His love and mercy.

He worked a miracle before, and I know He can do it again. I'm counting on it.

15 comments:

aggiejenn said...

Praying for you, Melissa, that God would raise up all Christians in that region to testify that He is God and He is good and He is in control, even now.

Barb said...

Oh no, Melissa. I lived through some awful floods in southeast Texas when I was growing up and I know how devastating it is and how long it takes to recover. I will pray for everyone affected.

Tricia said...

Praying for you & everyone down there!

Frannie Farmer said...

Oh, I am a first time reader and my heart is aching for you and your town.
The town that I live in experienced the same thing a little over a decade ago and each fall shrouds the community with an ominous haze. So far, we have been fortunate.
I am sorry that you have not and I will be certain to keep you in my prayers.
Blessings,
Frannie

JenMom said...

Melissa- I am praying for your town. I think it is no accident that in my small group this morning we were studying the "tests" Chrsitians face. (specifically, studying Abraham in Gen 22) One of the main points of our study is that when something bog and terrible happens God is always up to something big as a result of it. Another point was how to have faith in God through it without getting bitter. Hang in there and look for God's Hand!!

JenMom said...

bog=big in previous post..sorry!

momxtwo a.k.a. Lisa said...

Prayers are going up right now.

Blessings
Lisa

Rebecca said...

Yes (to praying, that is).

GiBee said...

Praying for you, Melissa! Please keep us up to date on what's going on... in the mean time, I'll be watching the local news for more updates!

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

Melissa, I did not know what was going on there. Had thought of emailing you with an update, then came here. Our area had awful floods several years ago and people are still rebuilding also. I will be praying as your town holds on.

MrsCoach2U said...

I bounded over here from various blogs and I can tell this is one I needed to read. THANK YOU! Right now I need to surround myself with things I've left behind, your helping to do that.

sobeit said...

My heart goes out to you, your family and the town. In the last year, I know what it is like to see your city experience such a trial. My prayers and thoughts are with you, and praise God that you can see him through this trial!

Hugs! Kelli
http://sobeit89.squarespace.com

Toni said...

My goodness. What a test ... again. I read a book not long ago called "Always Enough" about a missionary couple in South Africa. Floods devastated that country several years ago, particularly the South, which had barely any infrastructure to begin with. In the book, they spoke of how God used the disaster so that he could be glorified and many were won to him. I'm not saying God CAUSED the flooding, but surely -- as you said -- he seeks to find and save what was lost, even (or especially) in the storm.

Toni said...

My goodness. What a test ... again. I read a book not long ago called "Always Enough" about a missionary couple in South Africa. Floods devastated that country several years ago, particularly the South, which had barely any infrastructure to begin with. In the book, they spoke of how God used the disaster so that he could be glorified and many were won to him. I'm not saying God CAUSED the flooding, but surely -- as you said -- he seeks to find and save what was lost, even (or especially) in the storm.

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