15 Miles from Tragedy

How quickly things can change.  This week provided something we’ve never seen before with the record breaking floods that struck our area.  In Coweta County, we were relatively unaffected.  Some residents who live along the Chattahoochee were evacuated, but the flooding mostly affected farmland and forest.  But just across the river, it was a different story.  Thousands of homes and businesses flooded.  It looked like something from the Gulf Coast after a hurricane.  The physical tragedy is immense with the millions of dollars in damage, though most believe the cost will be much greater.

The human tragedy is also tremendous.  On Wednesday, I spoke with Dan Dockery, the Associational Missionary in Carroll County.  He was greatly concerned about the family in Carrollton that lost their two- year old child when the water swept their home away.  His body was found downstream about a mile.  Can you imagine, losing your child and your home in a matter of minutes?

Events like the unprecedented flooding of this week are all too grim reminders of the frailty of our existence.  It doesn’t take much for everything to be taken away.  Solomon understood this. Though he didn’t have to face a flood to figure it out, he did have to face a lifetime of vain pursuits.  At the end of his life, reflecting upon the accoutrements of his existence—the wealth, the power, the pleasure—he came to terms with a most profound truth—”Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecc. 12:13).”

A flood is very powerful.  It can take away our homes.  It can destroy our automobiles and our appliances.  It can take away years of photographs and the cherished tokens of our fondest memories.  It can sweep away our loved ones, and even demand from us our last breath.  There is one thing a flood cannot take away.  It cannot take away     Jesus.  It cannot take away our great salvation.  It cannot wash away our soul.

The Church has got a tremendous responsibility out of all this.  We are responsible to help.  We must help clean up.  It is not a job for FEMA or the Red Cross, it is a job for the Church.  Did you know that the Church is the only organization with a God-given mandate to help the poor and needy.  I truly believe that FEMA and the Red Cross exist due to the anemia of the Church.  There will be a lot of poor people who need help.  The good news is that there are a lot of churches who can help.

One day the clean-up will be over, but our responsibility will be a long way from finished.  We should yet again be reminded about the significance of our primary task.  Could you imagine losing everything without knowing Jesus?  Knowing that you have nothing but the clothes on your back.  We owe it to our neighbors to let them know that they do not have to face this life alone.  They do not have to face the 100 year flood alone.  They do not have to face the day-to-day crises alone.  This is not some sappy self-help, “power of positive thinking” nonsense.  This is the Gospel.  And we must share it at all cost until every ear has heard and been given the opportunity to respond.

One day the flood may strike the south side of the river.  You’ll be ready.  Will your neighbor?  Will your coworker?  Will your classmate? What will be left in their life when everything in this life is taken away?  You know the answer.  Are you sharing that knowledge with the lost who fill your life?  Or will you wait until the tragedy strikes—when it may be too late?

Praying for the Victims,

Pastor Brian


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