Image by The Suss-Man (Mike) via Flickr Yesterday was a day of unprecedented rainfall and flooding in Atlanta, Georgia. Roads closed, cars stalled out, trees fell over roadways and houses flooded. Tragically, six people died, one a toddler swept away in the flood waters. Out to an early exercise class, I didn't heed the warnings of possible flooding and wound up stranded at a drugstore where easily 12 inches of water flooded in the front door and water rose up to the floorboard of my car before I moved it to higher ground. I called my brave and worried children who came and rescued me. Meanwhile, a friend planning to move to Florida in October, had at least 12 inches of muddy water overflow the creek bank and flood her entire basement where she had stored everything she owns. Water rose up to the door handles on her new van, trashing the inside and ruining the motor. She was informed by her homeowners insurance that she has no flood insurance to cover all her possessions. The car luckily is covered by her car insurance.
Where is God in the midst of the tragedy and destruction? Isaiah 43:1-4 tells us "...fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. and when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Notice that God doesn't say, "Fear not, you will never have troubles in your life" Instead he says, "recognize that I am with you in those troubles." How is he with us? He is with us through friends and family that rescue us in times of trouble. He is with us as he refocuses our lives through adversity. He is with us as we learn to pull on reserves of faith and strength that we didn't even know we are capable of so that we can move forward in the future. Throughout history, God has reassured us that he is with us. Even the name given to Jesus of Immanuel means "God with us". In times of trouble, we are reminded that God loves us so much that he calls us by name and walks with us through the fire and water.