Beauty in the Flood

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood— Psalm 29:10a


That Saturday night seemed like any other. It began raining around 5:30 p.m., like it had for many weeks during this extreme rainy season. Even though I had a scary experience with running into some flooding while taking a friend back up to school around 8:30 p.m., I was able to get home and had no idea what other terrors would transpire that night. Our family awoke the next morning to the disturbing news that a severe flash flood and landslide had happened not long after we had gone to bed. Houses had been swept away, and thousands of people were displaced. Those who had lived in the valley behind the school climbed the school hill in search of safety, but many of them had lost family members as well as their homes.

Linda’s son C.J. comforts three boys who didn’t seem to have parents.

The next week was a blur as our mission community worked hard to care for the needs of the refugees who had fled to the school. Some cooked, some sorted and distributed donated clothing, some cleaned bathrooms. Others from Indonesian churches brought clothing and stayed to help. Several restaurants from the local community brought delicious meals for the refugees. Each time a new group would show up, it made me want to cry. There was something beautiful in their coming to help. It made me feel like we weren’t alone trying to care for the needs of these hundreds of people. God was there. He was sending help. He was sending comfort. He was answering prayer.

A local restaurant brings food for those seeking shelter at the school.

As the week went on, I lapsed into doubting God’s goodness. There was so much suffering, so much loss. More stories surfaced each day. How could God allow such suffering? I finally just told Him how I was feeling. I had tried so hard to be strong and to keep a good perspective. But immediately I felt a release. I just needed to be honest about my doubts. And then I could feel Him close to me again, like He actually enjoyed working through my doubts with me. He reminded me that through the hard things and the hard times, we get to see God’s heart. I thought back to all the people who had come to help and bring comfort to the destitute, and I realized I had seen His heart—even through the flood.

Bathroom cleanup time. Linda and her boys are up for the task, smiles and all.




  • Jim Manley says:

    Thank you for your transparency. You communicate the reality of us clay pots trying to walk with a God whose ways and thoughts are not a “superpower” version of ours but are altogether above and beyond ours.

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