Life in General

When Disaster Strikes

IMG_20200621_191351Psalm 29-A Psalm of David.

‘Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters.
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!”

* * * *

Every year on August 29th I remember that day in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina unleashed its fury on the city of New Orleans. In my hit and miss practice of reading a Psalm a day I thought it was interesting, in an “only-God-could-do-this” kind of way that verse 10 above says, “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;”

We have life long friends who live in New Orleans — 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.

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  • Natalie

    Beginning with a psalm and ending with prayer. There’s no more profound response to crisis than that. You lead by example.

  • Katie Brewster

    Thank you for these words of grace and wisdom!
    Just listened to Floodplain by Sara Groves – what a beautiful and meaningful song:)
    My husband heard of a man at Rotary this morning who is leaving Friday to take supplies down to those in need in TX: diapers, wipes, garbage bags, First Aid kits, toiletries,. . .
    My daughter and I stopped by the grocery and got a few items then took them to the farmer’s market where the gentleman is collecting them – was so heartening to see the BIG pile of things folks are bringing to help.
    Tonight on the news we saw a story about the owner of Gallery Furniture Stores in Houston who has opened his showrooms to those needing shelter.
    Praising God that His people are being His hands and feet!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Jody, for expressing my heart for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. I cannot imagine such upheaval, loss, extreme difficulty, and uncertainty. I am praying that, even in the face of this overwhelming disaster, God’s glory WILL shine through the rescue and recovery efforts, his miracles will be made known (We KNOW he is at work!), and MANY people will turn to him for the strength they need, just as Psalm 29:11 promises.

  • Julia Putzke

    Your prayer at the bottom reminded me of Sara Groves song, Floodplain. Not sure why except I think she talks about sending life boats in part of the lyrics. Thank you for sharing your heart. ☺️

    • Jody Lee Collins

      Julia, that’s exactly the song that came to mind as I was writing. Thank you for always reading along.

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