We are human beings – we empathise, we sympathise and especially those of us who’ve been around in the world long enough, we also know the right words to say when disaster strikes somewhere, when things go wrong with someone or someplace. We are taught to click our tongues at just the right moments, speak passionate words at just the right places and maybe look at the TV screens with just the right expressions- the expression of dismay, of seeming sadness for the loss of someone we’re watching from a distance.
But when the storms hit homeground, then the story changes right? Then we find ourselves reeling in a mixture of emotions and motions we never knew we were capable of before.
When the rains started flooding the state I come from, I did the appropriate clicking of my tongue, ‘lets pray for the places worst affected’ speech, sympathised and empathised- just appropriately, like we’ve all learnt to do. But when my home got flooded, when I couldn’t contact my parents for a whole day straight, when the waters started rising steadily at home and my folks were forced to move out, then reality struck. I could feel my father’s pain at having to leave the home at the mercy of the angry waters. It was not just the furniture or the documents in the house he was pained to leave behind, it was the home we had, the memories we’d shared there, a lifetime of hard earned comfort, all our old books, albums, pictures- everything that made a home a home, a lifetime that we’d shared and treasured and so preciously kept together. I couldn’t just shake my head at the television screen and exclaim’ How sad!’ anymore. I was just struck by the enormosity of the losses that we would be enduring if the rains continued the way they did.
It was real. It was right there. And it had struck home.
And that’s when I truly captured a very very small part of what those fellow countrymen would be going through, with their very houses washed away, near and dear ones missing, no place to go to, no idea how long this would last and holding on to dear life.
As the rains have started to cease and as the waters recede, I’ve come to realise that no amount of funds, spare clothes, medicines or relief camps can provide much relief. What they’ve lost is so much more than what any of us can even begin to comprehend. So as we extend our helping hands, lets also ask God to comfort the flood-whelmed brethren because only the God of all comfort can provide that peace that passes all understanding.
I share with you a verse from a song I love dearly that held my heart as anxiety overwhelmed me:
“When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God”
(Still- Hillsong worship)
Isaiah 43:2 New King James Version (NKJV) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.