Sunday, January 16, 2011

Broken and Wet

The past few weeks have been wet ones here in Australia. Rain has been falling on dry, hard earth. Rivers have been unable to carry the amount of water being delivered into them. There have been flash floods, 'inland' tsunamis, rivers rising inexorably. Evacuations and tense waits have been followed by mud-filled floors, stained walls, waterlogged houses. Some floods came so quickly that there are people still unaccounted for.

all these images are of the Queensland floods from

Thousands of homes have been damaged. The clean-up will take months, maybe longer for some. And as our news is filled with progress updates, stories also come of floods and landslides in Brazil. And we look for the stories of hope to calm our fear.

Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and fear. "Is it the end of the world?", says a friend.

Some are desperate to know, but I'm thankful that's not in my hands to decide.

I find myself, rather, seeing the flimsy fragility of our existence. We build, we gather things, we make homes. We rest our hearts, our hopes and our selves in the midst of things. In an instant they can be washed away or left destroyed and useless.

But on 24 hour coverage of floods, where people who have lost everything are interviewed, their words are fascinating. They speak of people who help, of others who've suffered more, or of determination to live on. They do not eulogise fancy lounge suites or wide screen TVs, or boxes of things. They courageously admit where their real hope lies - in relationships, or communities or in their own fierce-held survival. They are their own victory trophy over disaster.

We know what really matters, and sometimes disasters clarify our view to see it. The one thing we gloss over, though is God. Disasters are 'acts of God', and blame can lie heavy with him. We forget the fact that he is with us in the disaster, too. He sits in precarious places waiting for rescuers to arrive. He sifts through mounds of destruction and helps clean and rebuild. He cleans mud away, he delivers needed food, he listens to traumatic stories. He is present for the clean up and restoration.

Our lives, our achievements, our possessions are like grass, blown too easily away.

But God stands firm - with us, amongst us. His love in destruction brings impossible hope. That despite our transience and fragility, we will live on.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3
Joining the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival - Broken


Peter P said...

Great perspective and great post.

Thank you for sharing it on the blog carnival, or I would never have found it!

a joyful noise said...

Such tragedy causes me to feel their pain. I liked your line; for the friend who wanted to know "Is it the end of the world?" Your remark was: "Some are desperate to know, but I'm thankful that's not in my hands to decide." Yes we often ask the question "WHY?" and we are not the one who holds the answer