Last Saturday I woke up to a text message from a very dear friend. He had sent me a Bible verse. I read it and held on to it in the back of my mind as I went on about my day. I repeated that verse a lot to myself that day, as well as the next and then found that I had sort of tied my proverbial life line to it so that I could give it a tug when the water started to get too high…just so that I would know that it was there.
This flood metaphor seems appropriate given the current state of my area. And this morning I woke up from a not-so-pleasant dream to hear more rain falling. I sat on the cold floor, rested my forehead on my double glass doors, and watched God drop more rain onto South Carolina.
Not even a week ago, my children and I drove around delivering pizza to anyone we could find who was obviously working to help keep our community safe. I passed by my former students’ neighborhoods in Columbia. I passed streets that had fallen, bridges that had collapsed, and lives that had changed forever. I passed oases of land that seemed untouched to the naked eye but for the piles and piles of belongings and debris spread out across the yard to dry. I navigated streets so familiar to me that I could draw a topographical map of the cracks and imperfections, now alien and littered with miniature sand dunes. I spoke to God a lot that day. Quiet murmurings of “Bless them, hold them, help them.” I asked God to guide us to the people who were most in need that day, so that we could be a service or that we could shine His light where it was needed the very most.
This morning as I sat on that cold floor, I cried. I cried as I remembered how that first ray of sun felt on my face after days and days of rain. I cried as I imagined the bewilderment of so many who had lost so much as they too sat on cold floors and watched in desperate helplessness. And then I cried for answers. Why is it still raining? Why haven’t we had enough? Why? As I cried I heard my phone, and upon checking it, found the same Bible verse from a different friend. I set my phone down, determined to finish my cry when I heard my phone again. Same Bible verse. Different friend.
As I looked out into the rain, I saw faces of the men and women we fed after the flood. I remembered whispering the refrain, “God, send us where they need our love. Send us where we’re needed most.” This time I cried for enlightenment. God had sent us to serve where WE needed it the most. All the time I had been pleading with God to allow us to meet a desperate need, He had been meeting mine. Even amidst this flood, as we are treading water and growing weary, as we are wading through water too dark to visually penetrate, we have angels. We have angels both heavenly and earthly moving stones from before our toes, and rocks from under our feet. Psalm 91: 11-12.