As the current series of storms continues in the upper Midwest, with one thunderstorm after another chasing the rest, it was bound to happen sooner or later; a levee in Holt County broke. The breach sent floodwaters rolling across fertile farmland and forced residents of the area to leave. The flood level in some places has now eclipsed the high muddy mark of 1993.
Floodwaters leave a stubborn stench and stain as they drain away. Days of digging, scraping, shoveling and cleaning follow in the aftermath along with dozens of decisions about what to clean and redeem and what to give up as lost.
It seems more desirable to think of God as holding all levees, keeping the surge of the storm away from us, protecting us from life’s roiling tempests. We likely prefer to think of his mighty hand covering us, shielding us, forming an invisible barrier of exemption from the harshness of a hostile world.
While seemingly more desirable, such an image promotes distortion, an inaccurate focus on material circumstances. It is ripe for disillusionment and disbelief when the waters do, indeed, cascade around our feet and rise toward the ceiling. I actually prefer the image of a God who is there with us, feet in the mud, strong arms lifting sandbags, who fights the flood with us but finally says, “You know what? You’re going to have to leave this place for a while.”
Our God allows the furies of this world to remind us of proper perspective and righteous priority. He leads us to a safer place, helps us clean up after and is always with us, no matter how high the waters on either side of the levee. He knows that we sometimes make the wrong choice and is able to clean away the muck we make of our lives.