After the Flood Waters Have Receded

After the Storm

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Psalm 69:1-3

A friend told me, “Sometimes you have to laugh at devastating things just to get through them.” She’d just finished telling me a horrifyingly sad story and I didn’t understand her hysterical laughter. I still can’t do that myself but I understand better when others need to laugh at the sadness.

Today, I spoke with a friend who has been devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Her home flooded and she lost almost everything on her first floor including a refrigerator she found floating across the floor later. Both of her vehicles also flooded, were hauled off, and considered totaled. The mold is setting in the walls and everything else the water touched. Masks must be worn to tear down the walls and clean them before they can be rebuilt. This wasn’t what she had in mind when she’d joked about remodeling before. Clear as if she were sitting next to me, her voice floated through the line, describing the groceries she purchased just before the storm. When she opened the fridge, cloudy water spilled past the fruit and across the floor.

“I can laugh about it now,” she chuckled. I shook my head, thankful she couldn’t see me. Laugh because her just-purchased groceries sat soaking in flood waters?

At once, my friends words from long ago rang through my heart, rendering me speechless. Sometimes you have to laugh at devastating things just to get through them. This is what she meant. When the worst you’ve experienced has come, let it go with a bit of laughter. When the overwhelming future of what you’re facing seems impossible, find a reason to laugh. When your possessions are piled high by the curb, saturated with silt and water damage, and waiting for the garbage truck to pick them up, you have to let it out somehow. Tears, usually. Laughter, sometimes. But those feelings always have to come out.

Your broken heart bottles up all that pain and grief until the fruit-soaked water spills out of your refrigerator and hysterical laughter bubbles out of your throat. You didn’t mean to laugh, but what else could you do?

But what about when the laughter doesn’t come easily? Or never at all?

After all, you’ve lost everything.

Suffering is no respecter of persons. No matter your nationality, ethnicity, affluence or lack of, we are all guaranteed suffering on this earth of ours that we live on. It may be our declining health or losing a loved one or it may be your home washed up on the shore, pieces scattered across the shoreline, evidence of the natural disaster that left your home and heart in tatters.

Your broken heart knows no boundaries. Your family depends on you for strength but you’re crumbling right now.

Ann Voskamp says, “Great grief isn’t made to fit inside your body. It’s why your heart breaks.”

Friend, whatever suffering you are going through right now, my heart is breaking with yours. I am so sorry for everything you’re going through and the difficult journey you’re on. Can I tell you something?

I don’t pretend to say all this without experiencing my own devastating, debilitating, grasp your gut in shock kind of grief. Grief that paralyzes you, leaving permanent scars on your soul. The kind that leaves you so numb, you scarce can pick up one foot and plant it in front of the next. The kind where the seeing into the future and past this seems too far away to comprehend.

But you know what? You’ll get through this and you’ll be stronger for it. You may not see that right now and you sure can’t feel it, but the suffering and pain won’t last forever. There’s hope beyond the heartache.

Our towns will be rebuilt, our homes will be reconstructed, and our hearts will be wholly healed.

Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendents of His servants shall inherit it. And those who love His name shall dwell in it. Psalm 69: 34-36

If you’ve suffered storm damage to your home and property and you need help, please visit this site and click on the Get Help link. Or if you want to help others, click on the Be Help link.