Reframing the Floods of our Times
Fall has kicked off with floods, fires, earthquakes, and saber rattling with North Korea. And we thought last fall’s upheaval was epic with Brexit, the Trump/Clinton election, and multiple terrorist attacks!
As we watch Houston rebuild, await this monster storm barreling towards Florida, see the flooding in Bangladesh and India, and the earthquake in Mexico, I was reminded again of the birth bangs of creation. Whether or not you believe these events are natural cycles of nature or exacerbated by human behavior, the earth is groaning.
Interestingly, a number of times in the last six months, God has spoken to me through rain. In December, I was back in the US to lead a women’s retreat when we experienced quite a dramatic outpouring of God’s Spirit. Our group experienced a number of prophetic words and experiences about a new release of God’s Spirit for this era. The next morning I awoke to a flood of text messages and pictures from our community in Spain. A massive rainstorm had flooded our town— the roundabouts were underwater, and everyone was bailing out water in their homes.
As I read through the messages, I felt God saying to me, “This is prophetic rain. I am doing something new.”
Often when I’m discerning what God is up to in the big picture, I recognize that the natural realm mirrors what is happening in the spiritual realm. When God is about to do something significant, there is often a flurry of weird resistance in the natural realm: conflict, accidents, miscommunications, plumbing issues (that seems to be a favorite), illness. In other words, when God is moving, Satan tries to bring the opposite spirit. God’s moving us towards unity– Satan will counter with division. God’s moving us towards hope– Satan counters with despair. God’s moving us towards faith– Satan counters with fear.
As we watched last week the outrageous volume of rain that hit the Houston area, I believe this rain, too, is a picture for these new times. God’s Spirit is being poured out dramatically all over the earth. Think of some of the pictures from Houston: the elderly sitting in wheelchairs with water up their their waists, houses with water up to the roofline, highways completely underwater. Different places, experiencing different levels of water but nearly everyone getting wet.
One of the Old Testament prophecies includes a picture of Ezekiel watching the temple flood with water. The water starts at his ankles, progresses upward to his knees, his waist, until ultimately he was swimming. While we may not fully understand what this prophecy means, we can be sure of one thing: There will be an increase in God’s activity as the days progress.
We can be assured, with every increase of destruction we see: terrorism, war, natural disasters, economic crisis, pandemics, God will exceed their effects with a release of His redemptive power. The greater the drama that the world, the flesh, and the devil produce in the natural realm will be matched by an even greater measure of God’s Spirit. Satan always overplays his hand. It matters not what is thrown at us, because we are a people who can say, “You meant this for evil, but God used it for good.”
Of course, it is heartbreaking to see the loss of property and life, especially when people do not have a faith on which to draw. They say Hurricane Harvey has caused $180 billion dollars worth of damage, and Florida may experience even greater loss. The truth is these natural disasters will create astronomical physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual costs that far exceed something we can put on paper. This is the hour of need when many may be seeking something the world can’t offer. And we have an all-powerful God who will turn to anyone who calls on His name.
These are the days that Jesus talked about- the storms are here– hatred and division, terrorism, natural disasters. This is when we find out whether we’ve built on the sand or on the Rock. The Church is designed to bring stability to our communities; they can lean on us, because we lean on the Him.
May this be the hour the Church arises to bring Hope to a groaning world. May we weep with those who weep. May we become the hands and feet of practical support. May we give from our bounty to those in need. And may every person who turns to Jesus, watch the veil be removed, and see Him for who He is– their Strong Deliverer.
My friend, Colleen Briggs, wrote on a beautiful prayer on her blog this week that I have joined her in praying:
A Prayer for My Country, based in Psalm 95
Oh, God, all of this heaving, whirling world is yours, from the heights of quaking mountains to the depths of churning seas. It all belongs to you, created by you, held in your gaze, touched by your fingertips. And how we need you now as fury bears down upon us, breaking through the cracks of its instinctive gasping…
The sea is yours for it is you who made it, And your hands formed the dry land…
Your hands formed the dry land, trembling before the wrath of the sea. We tremble in fear that people who breathe today, won’t tomorrow; oh God have mercy!
Let us as a nation grieve how far we veer from you, as far as the depths of the sea churn where they don’t belong, deep into what should be dry land. And yet, still we were created by you, we belong to you, every last rebel heart belongs to you.
Oh God, soften our hearts. If terror must be the flame that melts our hearts like wax, melt us into remembrance that we are but sheep and you are the only true Shepherd who can lead us. We have received blessing after blessing from your hand, and yet we turn away like surly children, wanting it our own way. Havoc seeps through the fissures as we receive what we want; even as what we desperately need evades us. Forgive us, Lord.
And yet, still, you are there. You stand in our midst, longing for the return of each and every one, each person – your most beloved, You stand in highways filled with desperate evacuees, beside demolished homes, in the ashes of raging fires, and with broken hearts of survivors: calling each one of us by name, weeping with us.
Let us hear you! Let each and every heart fall, one by one, toppled into your goodness. Let us cry out:
For the Lord is a great God! For He is our God!
Oh Lord, have mercy.
You can check out Colleen’s blog on art, faith, and justice at Fragments of Light.