April 10, 2013

Before Hope is Washed Out

I had been on the highway for an hour-and-a-half and had only managed to go the same distance that it normally takes about seven minutes to travel. The rain started in the night; rolling thunder and lightning banged and clacked through a restless sleep. With no TV and a failure to listen to the radio before I left for work, I had no idea what was transpiring in the city. Streets were under water, highways shut down, and exit ramps closed. I was in the thick of it before I realized what was going on – kept company only by the DJ on the radio. “This is unprecedented flooding for the metropolitan area.” The weather man kept repeating – unprecedented.

As I was approaching the 10th Street exit, I knew a decision had to be made about whether to keep going, or turn around and go home. It would probably take me at least 30 more minutes to get to the 23rd street exit.  Besides, that exit ramp was closed. It could be two more hours before making it to the town where I work, a drive that normally takes 30 minutes. I spoke with a co-worker on my cell-phone, and I was encouraged to turn around and go home. No students had been coming in, and three of my colleagues were unable to make it through the treacherous streets to get to work. So, I took the 10th street exit, the first available exit that might get me home. Earlier on the phone my husband had expressed that it might be a bad idea to take the 10th Street exit, and not for the grace of God, it would have been.


The idea was to take that very exit, go back under the bridge, and get back on the highway going east back home instead of west as I had been headed before. I turned left at the bottom of the ramp, turning onto 10th, and with the bridge up ahead, I saw the flood water. More fearful than I would have ever expected to be, tears dripped heavy out of my eyes as I realized I couldn’t go backwards. Two cars were already stranded under the bridge, sitting hopeless with water seeping in the doors. With my husband in my ear, tears on my face, and fear in my heart I said, “What do I do?”
“Drive very slow.” said my stronger half.
“There are cars stranded, flooded. Water is up the doors.”
“They are stranded because they tried to drive through too fast.”  My husband reassured me.
The reporters on the news, who are usually over-zealous, will always tell you not to drive through high waters. But, when faced with driving through or being a sitting duck waiting for the water to come to me, I had to go through before it got any higher.

They were on either side of me, the wide-eyed people with nowhere to go. I wish I could have helped them, but I had my own ocean of worry to drive through. I began to wonder, Is my house built on sinking sand? When the waters come will my house be swept away? As I drove down this first river street, everything in slow motion, I began to see a different kind of flood, one caused by the deluge of sin, and poor choice, and self. I could picture the high waters that consume those whose hearts haven’t received the gift, the gift purchased for them, but left unopened. The life preserver left behind. Their faces fear stricken.

With tears, fear, and prayer, and great faith in an incredibly calm, and protective husband, I drove on through. Relieved, my hopes were soon dashed as I saw the entrance ramp back onto the highway that I had wanted to get to.  It was  flooded. Closed. Cars stranded. Water was all around me, but God’s hand was under my little Honda. “What do I do now?”

My husband was directing my every move. He knew which roads would be best to take. I made my way to Eastern Avenue still shaken by that liquid torment I had just driven through, and concerned because I couldn’t get back to the highway. Courage in my husband’s voice kept me going. Then I saw it ahead. Cars making U-turns. U-turns to where? It was flooded behind us. People were making choices to go on through or turn around. White caps were washing across the street. "Do I go on through? Jesus help me." They are there again, the people who took it too fast, turned in every direction and unprepared for how to travel through water on wheels. They were helpless and hopeless, and again I wanted to stop to help, but I was headed home, and my beloved was leading me there. 


What will it be like when as Jesus said in Mathew 24,  “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”?

Jesus will come in a fury. We will round a corner and find ourselves before his throne. There will be no more life preserves thrown then because all of the life saving work will be done. Did we accept the saving grace when we had the chance? Are we prepared for the flood waters to come? They will come unexpectedly, and they will come quickly. There will be those that are left, that don’t make it through. Will you make it through? Will I?
“I have to put the phone down.” I cried to my husband.

I drove, and I prayed. “Jesus, sweet Jesus. Oh, Jesus help me cross safely. Help me get home.”

“You don’t understand honey. There are whitecaps in the water. It is rushing across the road.”

“Drive slow. Just drive slowly.”

“Jesus. Oh Jesus help me.”

“I’m through! I’ve made it through!”

“Okay.” My hubby said. “Are you on 15th street yet?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. Drive safe. You’re almost home.”
As I rounded the corner onto my street, I saw water covering curbs, traveling up yards, and creeping up driveways, but I knew we were on high ground, and we would be okay. We were blessed.  Some streets had water covering the cars.  Homes were completely flooded.  When I saw that familiar little white house, my soul was washed with peace as I fully realized that I had made it all the way home.

We’re almost to our eternal home you know? Are you prepared for rising waters? Do you have your life preserver? Are you traveling with the Savior? Are you listening to his voice?  Before hope is washed out, let Him take you all the way home.

It rained all through the night last night and for most of the day today.  The deluge brought back memories of this story I shared quite some time ago.  We didn't have a flood today, but temperatures dipped below freezing, and the trees bowed and bent and snapped under the weight of the ice.  What a beautifully strange sight to see Redbud trees completely frozen in April.  I hope you enjoyed the retelling of this story as I get some much needed body and soul rest.

7 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are safe. We have had flooding here too, but not like that! I have a print in my office of my son standing on a rock in the Pacific Ocean...here are the words printed on it.
    The water may be swirling,
    The waves may be crashing,
    But you are standing
    On the solid rock
    Of God's love,,,
    And that puts you on the highest ground possible.

    Thank goodness for our Solid Rock.

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  2. Anita, Thanks for these precious words! I don't think you saw the little paragraph at the end that tells you this is a re-telling of a story that happened awhile ago, so I'm definitely safe! No flooding today!

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  3. Oh wow! I somehow missed this. Did you share it before? Anyways, how scary that must have been. I am so thankful you had your husband and your Jesus to guide you safely home.

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  4. First thing I thought about when I read your post is that God gave you everything you needed...A calm husband to guide you and His angles to protect you....

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  5. "My husband was directing my every move. He knew which roads would be best to take." I'm thanking God today for husbands like ours, Stephani
    .

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  6. I had a very similar situation to drive through today, though it wasn't flood water, but blinding rain. Sadly, fear gripped me and a panic attack ensued. I was calling out to Jesus to help me over and over. I asked myself why I was scared if I trusted Jesus to help? I pulled over several times and asked my husband to pray for me. It was terrifying. I love how you made the analogy of the flood and being prepared for what is to come in the end times. I so wish I could write like this. God bless you for this blog!

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  7. What a beautiful picture of the love of our Father - and your dear husband! Being guided through the floods that would overwhelm us, especially when we make the choice to rush through them, is a lesson to be remembered. We are guided - not pushed and shoved and rushed and yanked. Guided! Thank you for sharing this. It's a beautiful picture I needed to see today.
    ~Adrienne~

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