It’s been eight years since the flood of June 2008. As I sit here at my kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee, my mind goes back to the memories stamped in its crevices concerning this life-changing event. Seems in many ways it was only last week that it happened. In others ways, it seems like many years.
The city of Columbus knows well how difficult it was for its citizens to deal with the aftermath of the flood. It was more difficult for some than for others, but we were all touched by it in some way. Some, like my husband Dave and myself, had to completely rebuild their homes, while others helped kinfolk or friends or even people they didn’t know to clean up and rebuild.
We each also had to decide whether to allow the flood to make us bitter or better. Would we let it defeat us or would we learn from it?
Dave and I chose to allow it to make us better, more compassionate and caring for people who have been knocked flat by life’s circumstances. There have been two times in my life when tragedy personally struck me — times that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind.
Matthew 5:45 reads, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”
Oh, yes, tragedy has struck me more than twice, but there are only two times this verse has come to mind during it.
The first was April 28, 1980, when our first child was stillborn, and the second time was June 7, 2008, when we lost the inside of the home we had purchased 22 years earlier along with all of its contents.
Sometimes, those of us who are Christ followers think because we are his children, this insulates us from all bad things that can happen in life. But this is not so. God promises that he will be with us in times of tragedy to comfort and lean on and strengthen us.
But he doesn’t say we won’t have to go through these times of adversity.
Eight years after the flood, I think about God’s faithfulness to me. Although I’ve had to endure the hardship of Dave’s passing since then, today I am overwhelmed as I think about God’s mercy and grace.
By the time the flood hit, Dave’s Alzheimer’s disease had already progressed to the point where he was unable to make decisions. The most he could do was to take a push broom and sweep the floor — a floor that wasn’t really a floor anymore, but a bunch of planks.
This meant I had to make all rebuilding decisions without him. God, in his mercy and grace, provided us with a daughter who is an electrician by trade and a son-in-law who is a carpenter. He also provided us with people who knew how to build a house. They were so kind and generous with their time and knowledge.
We experienced an abundance of God’s grace and mercy day after day during the entire rebuilding. God, in his mercy and grace, allowed us to have enough money saved and in the bank to be able to pay for the materials and the workers it took for the rebuilding. This took everything we had saved. But at no time did we ever go into debt because we didn’t have the money to cover an expense.
And we were still able to pay our tithe the whole time.
In the years since the flood, God, in his mercy and grace, has allowed my counseling practice to reopen. Along with this work, God continues to provide me with many opportunities to speak for him and influence people for the cause of Christ.
I close my column today with a simple but heavy question. Since the flood of 2008, have you become bitter or better? Whichever, it has been your choice.
Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.