Linda W. Perkins

When Flood Waters Rise - April 20, 2016

It is day three of Houston's Great Flood of 2016. The TV newscasts look the same. Picture upon picture, video upon video, of water. Everywhere. In the streets. In houses. In cars.

Flooding. It's not a pretty picture.

Living on the Gulf Coast, we get used to it. We know, if we live near a bayou or creek, which roads will flood first and which will be the last to reopen. We know which highway underpasses to avoid. We also know, when we are looking for a new house, to ask whether it is in the 100-year flood plan.

We think we know it all. What to anticipate. What to watch for. Where to go and not go. Where to buy and not buy. What to do and not do.

Then it happens. The flood we never anticipated. No, not the 100-year flood event. The FIVE-hundred-year flood event. Uh, yeah, that one. THIS one.

This year, in this flood, I'm turning on the news and hearing stories I've never heard before. Stories that begin with, "It's never flooded here" coming from people who have lived in the same home for four or five decades.

After 40 or 50 years in the same place, people are being caught unaware, unprepared. They never thought it would happen to them.

So here I sit, surrounded by swollen creeks and water logged streets, pondering how similar this flooding is to life.

We never think it will happen to us, do we? That chronic illness. That job loss. That addiction. Whatever it is that we think only happens to other people.

And yet, here we are.

There is a reason Jesus shared the story of the house built on the solid rock versus the one built on sinking sand. He knows us too well.

Jesus knows that we most often go for what's easy. What's beautiful. That beachfront property on silky white sand, warm and wonderful to sink our toes into, just steps from the cool splashes of the ocean tide. It's close to the action there. We can just breathe in everything around us. It's so ... mesmerizing.

We build the houses of our lives when the sun is shining and soft breezes feel refreshing on our skin. We aren't thinking about the storms of life. Those won't happen to us, we tell ourselves, and so we go ahead and throw our cares to the wind. We make choices based solely on the moment, instead of looking into the future and asking ourselves the all-important question, "What if?"

What if I get sick? What if I get in a car accident? What if I lost my job? What if I do it once, and I can't stop? What if this relationship doesn't end in marriage? What if ...?

One of my friends sells insurance, and I bet she asks people "What if ...?" a hundred times a day. And I also bet she hears "That's OK, I'll take my chances" and "Aw, I doubt that will happen" in response more times than she can count.

But don't we all say that, at one time or another?

Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" Despite not knowing a single person who says they plan to fail, I know many of us have great testimonies of failures in our lives that are due to a lack of solid planning.

And yet, how many times do we encounter the truly unexpected? How do we plan for those times? Even the Bible, in Psalms 2, it says that all of our planning is sometimes for naught, because God is ultimately in control.

So, if we can't really plan, what are we to do? The answer is simple. We prepare.

Even in the absence of evidence that we will face a hardship, preparing for one can mean the difference between damage and devastation.

Just like insurance can protect us from financial ruin, being spiritually prepared can protect us from personal ruin. If we’re smart, we won’t bank on a foundation of sand. Instead, we trust in a more solid foundation: Faith in Jesus Christ.

When I am prayed up and grounded in God’s Word, I can be fully prepared for whatever comes my way. Why? Because my Bible doesn’t leave my “if” questions unanswered.

  • If I lose my job, then I will not panic because I know God has a plan for me and it is good (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • If I become ill, then I know that God can restore my health in this life (Psalm 41:3) or the next (2 Corinthians 5:2).
  • If I suffer a financial loss, then I will not worry about going hungry because I know that God is my provider (Psalm 147:9).
  • If I encounter temptation, then I can stand firm knowing that God will provide an escape from it (I Corinthians 10:13).
  • If I am faced with a hard decision and need wisdom, then I can pray and know God will give it to me (James 1:5).
  • If I make a mistake, then I know I can find forgiveness and I am covered by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • If I am rejected, then I can still hold my head high knowing that God has an even greater love for me (John 3:16).
  • Even if I am facing death, then I will not need to be afraid because I know that nothing can separate me from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39).

None of us know what lies ahead. No one can “plan” for the next 500-year flooding event. From what I have seen this week, however, I bet more will be prepared.

I want to one of those prepared. Not just for floods. For life. I’m building my house on the Rock. How about you?

What events in your life have hit you unexpectedly? Were you prepared to deal with them? How can you shore up your spiritual foundation so that you’re better prepared to face any future storms that come your way?

When Flood Waters Rise - Featured #TellHisStory Article on on April 26, 2016