In my Reflections article six weeks ago, I shared about flood preparations that were taking place in our little village in Germany. I compared what was being done to the work we need to do to prepare our hearts and lives for difficult times. At that time I assumed, as many did, that the spring thaw in Minot had passed and that the worst was over for 2011. I ended the article with the following statement: I pray that the rivers of our hearts have been dug deep and wide through the study of God's word, prayer and a deepening relationship with him. Then, when the torrents come, we will not be overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, the water did come in torrents sooner than anyone realized. Since I had been visiting family and friends in Moor- head and Minot I was already in the area. When I heard of the imminent flooding, some of our things that had been in storage were moved. The sirens blew as I headed to the airport.
Now what? With an event like this, a frequently asked question is, "Why?" I won't pretend to comprehend all of God's answer for each individual since he sees the big picture and has greater knowledge and purposes than I do. However, I do believe that the attitude with which we approach the question and the focus of our future attention makes a big difference in how we learn from and process the event. I believe that we need to ask why we've lost so many assets with a humble, teachable spirit rather than a hostile, angry one.
Let's consider our physical assets. Since they are not eternal, events like this can help keep life priorities in perspective. While we lost furniture, appliances and houses, no lives were lost. We can hold our loved ones closer in thankfulness.
Also, our emotional assets have been severely drained but when we approach this tragedy with a spirit focused on God, we are promised that we will find rest. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" Matthew 11:29. We must turn to God to find the rest he promises rather than turning away from him or shaking our fists at him. Our emotional assets, while important, are also not eternal.
Finally, our spiritual assets cannot be washed away from us. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8: 35, 37-39. Our eternally valuable spiritual assets can grow during this time if we seek God.
What if you weren't flooded? What if you only experienced a little inconvenience due to busy roads and short water supplies? Be thankful! But remember that the gift you've received comes with a lot of responsibility. "From anyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked" Luke 12:48. I've heard of many generous people in the Minot area who have gone out of their way to help others. That is what God calls us to do. Continue to look for ways to help those in need.
Tears may fall in torrents as we sift through our physical and emotional ruins. However, let's keep our questions humbly focused on God who is the only one who gives us hope. Our spiritual assets are not only intact but can grow stronger.
Helen McCormack writes the Reflections column every six weeks. She and her husband, David, are serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Germany.