Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grace in the Face of Disaster

Two days ago, Himself and I watched with horror TV broadcasts of Queensland's floods.  You've probably seen footage as well.  If not, and if even so, below is a short news video that gives basic but thorough information; it's one of many videos I watched this morning, and I thought it best encapsulated events.

The good news is that the floodwaters' peak was lower in Brisbane than predicted.  But four Australian states are under flood warning.  I read this morning that the La Nina weather patterns are the cause of the massive amounts of rainfall in Australia.  I pray that Queensland's fooding is the extent of the damage.

My dear friend, Jeanne, who lives in Victoria, writes eloquently -- as ever -- about this disaster on her blog, A Peaceful Day.  I encourage you to visit and read her thoughts, fears, and prayers.

Watching video footage, reading newspaper articles, and reading Jeanne's post hit me hard.  A year ago this past September, my own city was subject to 100-year flooding.  And several years ago, I was part of a church group that traveled to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to help in the hurricane clean-up.  I saw things there I could never have dreamed.  So when I see videos of Brisbane, my imagination extrapolates those images.

We think we grasp a situation merely by seeing photos or videos.  Our innate empathy takes over, and we think we can relate.  But that's impossible.  Until you've experienced something similar in person, there's no way to appreciate the magnitude of the devastation, the loss, the shock.  Or the awesome power of nature, for that matter.

And then you consider the people faced with the clean-up.  I recall seeing people in Mississippi living in tents next to their damaged houses (our homesites, if the house was gone), doing what they could to salvage their lives.  In fact, my group helped a family dig out from under the mess.  All the houses were gone save for their foundations.  Sand covered everything, and we dug into the sand, unearthing fragments from these families' lives.

I remember digging out a large rectangular Pyrex dish.  "My lasagna pan!" the woman cried out joyfully.  "I just bought that a few days before the hurricane hit."  So much happiness over something that had been quotidian just short weeks before.

And that, I think now, was a glimpse of God's wonderful mercy.  Shimmers of something beautiful in the midst of waste.

So I pray for Queensland and the people there.  I pray that God's grace will be so fully revealed that it transcends every sign of bleakness and despair; that what seems impossible, overwhelming even, will pale in comparison to the evidence of his mercy and love.


  1. '... there is something sacred in us all ...'

    Ellen dear, it takes a wordy woman to send me to the online dictionary, but you did it, girl.

    Quotidian. Cool word.


  2. Jackie, isn't it a great word? I love the English language, mishmash that it is. xo


I love reading comments! And I appreciate the time you take to leave them. Thanks!