It's hard to believe that July is almost over and in less than a month school will be starting again. This summer has also been quite different from what we were all expecting. I remember the first evacuation when we went and helped some of our friends move their stuff out of their basements to higher levels. Then coming back to our house and anxiously watching the news to see if Minot was going to flood. Thankfully the river did not go over the dike and everyone was allowed back into their homes to carry on with their lives just as they had before, or not.
Then we received the news that Minot was going to flood. Not a question of if, but when. There was an ocean of water coming toward us. On Tuesday the race was on as we carried everything from the bottom floors to the top. Not leaving even a drawer or light bulb behind. We finished one house and moved on to the next. When I walked in the door of the next house I thought there was no way we would get everything moved out in time. There was the normal furnishings along with everything from the basement on the main level. Just enough room remained to make a trail from room to room. But with the help of many different people we left our friends' house around 4:30 a.m. and nothing was left in the house. My dad even swept the floor just before we left. I woke up that Wednesday morning to the siren going off at 11:57 a.m. It was a weird feeling knowing that this wasn't "just a test." Once again we sat glued to the TV, thinking it couldn't really happen.
Now about a month later driving through the neighborhoods in the valley, I just want to cry. The devastation is so overwhelming. I look at how high the water line is on the houses, the wood and garbage piled high on the brown lawns, where it was once so green and beautiful, and I think, "This isn't how it's supposed to be." As a human being I can't see beyond today, beyond the tragedy and mess of it all.
Isaiah 40:28 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom." Whenever I read this verse it puts me in my place. Who am I to think I know better when God, the creator of the heavens, spoke the earth into existence. God is God. He will never change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He's in control during the good times and he is most certainly in control during the hard times.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven." God has a plan, The Minot flood of 2011 did not surprise him. It was not a mistake. God is good and he doesn't abandon us but if we put our hope in the Lord he will renew our strength. During this time is when we have the best opportunity to show others the love of Jesus Christ. Whether that's by gutting out homes, making meals, saying a prayer, or giving someone a hug to let them know you care. Let's not let the flood waters put out our light. It wasn't until Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in the firey furnace that King Nebuchadnezzar could see the Lord walking with them.
May everyone be able to see God walking alongside us through the flood. This is also a good reminder that this stuff we have on earth is only temporary and everything we've worked so hard for can be swept away by a current of water. As we keep working to recover from this disaster let's be thankful for all we do have and how much God has blessed us. Remember that this is not home, we're just passing through.
Stephanie Mehlhoff is a junior at Our Redeemer's Christian School in Minot.