Psalm 29-A Psalm of David.
‘Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!”
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Every year in August I remember that day in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina unleashed its fury on the city of New Orleans. We have life long friends who live there– pastors Frank and Parris Bailey, who were displaced for more than two weeks when the waters rose. And rose. And rose.
Several days passed before we knew where they were and whether they were safe. By the time I finally I heard from Parris via a message on my phone, I wept for joy. I kept that voicemail for several weeks. When my husband and I visited four years later and drove around New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, the devastation of what too much water can do really sank in. Witnessing the blank slates and empty lots of neighborhoods, the decimated vegetation in City Park, the destruction of so much history, brought things into very painful focus.
It seemed chillingly appropriate when I turned to the 29th Psalm that day as I did once again this morning, only this time with the unprecedented power and destruction of Hurricane Harvey in mind.
I don’t like August 29th. I’m guessing my dear friend doesn’t, either, as Hurricane Harvey is dumping on their precious city again.
I do not mean to diminish the loss, the grief, the displacement, any of it, that Texans are facing. It’s incomprehensible. But the scars are still there for my friends and thousands more like her who had to rebuild and took several years to do so. New Orleans actually “never came back,” as the locals will tell you.
There are losses in Texas that will never be recovered. Homes, loved ones, keepsakes, places of family and friends lost forever that will carry deep, deep scars. For nothing carries scars like the land.
May God give us the wisdom and grace to serve those around us, near and far, touched by natural disasters and life disasters of every kind. Those that threaten to rush in like a flood and drown the unsuspecting. May we pray at all times and in every season to be ready to help in time of need when the waters rise.
Dear God, help us bring the arks that are needed for deliverance in your time. Keep us above the waters that threaten to drown us. And when we need a lifeboat, send one our way. Amen.