Really, the appropriate photo for this post would be of a swollen river inundating people's homes, utterly redirecting their lives.
However, during the eight years we've lived in northwest Iowa, the Missouri River has always been friend--not foe. All our photos of the river show off it's peaceful side, its wide-but-lazy course inviting recreation. We've had countless family picnics on the river's edge in the shade of the Anderson Dance Pavilion, and we've shared this favorite spot with many friends who've come to visit. The photo on the right shows Princess Bink enjoying one of those picnics. Behind her, the grey expanse is the Missouri River. On the other side of the Missouri is one of the city's nicest hotels.
Now, however, record snowfall melting in the Rocky Mountains in far away Montana has completely changed this waterway's influence on our community. As the water begins to exceed its boundaries, the river has become menacing. It is now a formidable foe. The advancing water threatens to swallow an entire suburb in what is being called a 100-year flood.
For the past two days, hundreds of volunteers, including Mr. Beaver and the teens in our family, have helped families pack their entire households in an effort to at least save their belongings. Although the Missouri River has begun to rise, residents in it's path were told by the Corp of Engineers that they had until Thursday to vacate their homes. The home owners have been told that the river level may not return to normal for months.
I've been at home the past couple of days watching our younger children, but my heart has been with those anticipating loss.
Today as I slipped in a few minutes of reading, I was struck by how appropriate the words I read were to the suffering that's just beginning in our community. In The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a Sixteenth Century Catechism, Kevin DeYoung breaks the Heildelberg Catechism into short question-and-answer portions and then comments on them. I hope the selection below may offer some comfort to to any who are suffering, whether due to the inundating force of a swollen river or some other cause:
Q. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE WHEN YOU SAY, "I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH"?
Here is the last paragraph of Pastor DeYoung's comments:A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothingness created heaven and earth and everything in them, who still upholds and rules them by His eternal counsel and providence, is my God and Father because of Christ His Son. I trust Him so much that I do not doubt He will provide whatever I need for body and soul, and He will turn to good whatever adversity He sends me in this sad world. He is able to do this because He is almighty God; He desires to do this because He is a faithful Father. (pg. 54)
"[God] will turn to good whatever adversity He sends me. The Bible is not naive about suffering. Trusting in God's provision does not mean we expect to float to heaven on flowery beds of ease. This is a 'sad world' we live in, one in which God not only allows trouble but at times sends adversity to us. Trust, therefore, does not mean hoping for the absence of pain but believing in the purpose of pain. After all, if my almighty God is really almighty and my heavenly Father is really fatherly, then I should trust that He can and will do what is good for me in this sad world. Parents, don't you wish your kids had more faith in you and trusted that you knew what was best and were always on their side? I imagine God wants the same kind of faith for all of us." (pg. 57)