Our community has experienced the gamut of emotions over the past week and a half as the South Platte River flood swept through our area leaving a wake of damage. Many people lost homes, others lost valuable property, others farmland, and most of us had to go an entire week with a “no flush” ordinance. I want to extend a very hearty THANK YOU to all of our local leaders who worked feverishly to help out in this very difficult time—from our city manager and his staff, to the director of public works and his staff, to the Logan County Sheriff’s Dept., Sterling Police Dept., Colorado State Patrol, all our Firefighters and EMT’s, the Office of Emergency Management, as well as the Red Cross and Salvation Army and a whole host of others I have probably failed to mention. We truly appreciate all the hard work and effort you have put forth in alleviating the stress of this flood and its aftermath.
As we reflect on the events of these past two weeks, I want to draw your attention to Isaiah 43:1-3 which states, “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
This verse poignantly hits home as we have been through the waters and the rivers. Notice that the text says “When”, not “If” you pass through the waters. Our sovereign God never promises us that we will have a life free from trials and tribulations and even out of control “tributaries” (I had to add that one in for pastoral alliteration!) God does in fact promise us that He will be with us THROUGH the waters. We can trust in His presence in our lives. Let us be thankful as a community that God in His grace and mercy spared us what happened in the city of Lyons or in the areas surrounding Greeley. In reality, it could have been much worse here in Logan County than it actually was. The entire town of Sterling could have been flooded and we would be “wading” in 2 feet of floodwater just to get to the “port-o-potties”! So as a community, let us be thankful that God in His grace spared us an even major catastrophe.
Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 with these words: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I was amazed to see the outpouring of generosity in our community in people willing to share their homes for showers, laundry, and meals! As I observe this gracious hospitality, I am thankful to our Savior.
But yet in the midst of all this, there is a looming question that plagues me. What will be the economic impact and ripple effect of this flood? My heart goes out to all those who went an entire week without a paycheck–those in the service industry who work at restaurants, hotels, and in our school system and others.
13% of Logan County lives below the poverty line. Back in May, the Colorado Children’s Campaign released its 2013 “Kids County in Colorado” report, which indicated that Logan County’s child poverty rates continue to grow. It states 21.4 percent of the children in Logan County live in poverty.
How will this flood affect our already increasing amount of poverty in Logan County—especially among children? How will our churches rise to the occasion and be generous to those who are poor? The Bible speaks a great deal about how we as God’s people are to treat the poor. Will those in our community who have the resources be willing to donate more to the Cooperating Ministry? I beg us as God’s people to pray for wisdom in the days to come in how we can truly meet needs in Christ’s name to those who are hurting financially and have been negatively impacted by this flood.
As we reflect upon the inconveniences of not being able to flush and having our property affected and maybe even lost and not being able to work, it is appropriate to grieve and be concerned. Our hearts go out to you and Emmanuel Baptist Church wants to be a safe haven for you to experience the love of Christ. Yet in all of this, let us not ever forget that the greatest pain and loss and sorrow that any human ever felt was when the infinite God-Man, Jesus Christ, hung suspended on the cross bearing the full weight of our sin and God’s justice against our rebellion. Jesus endured the “flood” of God’s righteous anger against our sin as our Substitute so we would not have to endure that for eternity in hell. If you have not repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation as a free gift of grace, then what better time than now than to surrender your life to Him!
Again, we say “Thank You” to those leaders in our community who served us well during this time of crisis and may we as a Logan County residents praise our gracious Savior for sparing us what could have been a whole lot worse. And may this be an opportunity for us to evaluate our spiritual lives and bow before Jesus in repentance and faith for His wonderful gift of the cross