The third week of August 2017 in Texas was one for the record books. It began with a total solar eclipse, and was followed by some small earthquakes in the oil patch. Temperatures reached 100+ in many parts of the state, and then Hurricane Harvey hit the southeast Texas coast. Days after Harvey made landfall huge sections of the greater Houston area were under water and it was still raining as the storm slowly moved toward Louisiana. The devastation from the hurricane and the flooding is catastrophic. Some say the damage will exceed that of Katrina in 2005.
Our collective hearts are broken as we view images of those whose homes and possessions have been destroyed, and whose lives have been devastated by this event. While many are resolved to return to their homes and rebuild both them and their lives, others, no doubt, are hovering on the brink of despair. Some may even wonder where God was while all this was going on. Admittedly, it is difficult to maintain one’s composure and one’s faith in the face of such destruction, but this is exactly what we must do.
As devastating as Harvey was, it was nothing compared to the flood that God sent to cleanse the world in the time of Noah. In that flood, the rain fell for forty days and nights, the waters rose to a height of about 22′ above the highest mountains, and they remained on the earth for 150 days (Gen. 7:17-24). This flood was indeed an act of God, purposely done in order to cleanse the world of sin. For the nearly 100 years that it took Noah to build the ark, he appealed to mankind to repent and enter the ark in order to avoid the impending destruction. No one did so, and they all perished, except for Noah and his family. When this cleansing was completed God brought Noah and his family out of the ark and promised them that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Gen. 9:8-17).
God promised Noah that the rainbow in the sky would be the sign that He would never again bring a worldwide flood on the earth. Every time it rains today, even during events like Harvey, God’s rainbow is there, keeping His promise. This is the good news that more than offsets the devastation of natural disasters such as Harvey. As terrible as such events are, God is still in control and will not allow the earth to be destroyed by these things. We need to take hope from this promise and not lose faith in our creator.
The imagery of a flood perfectly captures how we sometimes feel in our spiritual walk. In 1995 a group called Jars of Clay wrote and recorded a song entitled, Flood. It captures the helplessness we feel when we are overcome by sin, by depicting a man being overwhelmed in a flood. In the refrain of this song, the man turns to the only one who can save him. He cries out to the Lord, “Lift me up, when I’m falling; lift me up, I’m weak and I’m dying; lift me up, I need you to hold me; lift me up, and keep me from drowning again.”
Like the people outside Noah’s ark, we have no hope as the flood waters of sin engulf us. However, if we turn to our Savior and Lord in obedience to His will, we have the assurance that He will indeed lift us up by the blood of His cross. If we surrender to Him, then no flood waters will ever threaten our spiritual house. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, the rains will fall, the floods will come, and the winds will beat on our house, but it will stand because it is founded on the rock of our Savior Jesus Christ (Mt. 7:24-27). In the spiritual floods of life we have only one reliable resource to rescue us. Therefore, as we anticipate these floods, let us turn to the Lord in obedience to the gospel, and cry out, “Lift me up!”