Saturday, July 2, 2011

The flood - a humbling means of grace

Now that the Souris River in Minot is beginning to recede, another flood is rising: the river of heroic effort as neighbors help neighbors and friends and agencies from outside our city come to our rescue. This historic flood has put us who are displaced with homes under water in a uniquely vulnerable position. Many are forced to admit their inability to push back the destructive effects of the flood singlehandedly. I will not be able to empty my basement of dirty river water, clean it out, extract mold and mildew, tear out and replace drywall, wood trim, kitchen cabinets and recover or replace my hardwood floor by myself. The job before many of us in the coming weeks and months is monumental and help from others will be needed.

Our relative helplessness is God's gift. We have a unique opportunity to humble ourselves and come face to face with the mortifying fact that we are limited and desperately dependent creatures. As Christians we should welcome such humbling experiences, for they position us for alignment with God's heart and our sanctification in a unique way as our pride is torn apart. As James 4:5-8a & 10 reminds us, "Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, 'He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?' But he gives us more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you....Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." In God's economy, the way up is down. Sometimes, the way to greater spiritual strength comes through the painful wake of destructive floodwaters. We should thank God for that.

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