In the southwestern U.S., there are many places in dry canyons that look ideal for camping. They’re close — but not too close — to a small river, there’s hiking and sunshine, and protection/shade from the great cliffs. Yet, there are signs that warn about flash flooding.
In desert or particularly dry areas, flash floods can be particularly deadly for several reasons. First, storms in arid regions are infrequent, but they can deliver an enormous amount of water in a very short time. Second, these rains often fall on poorly-absorbent and often clay-like soil, which greatly increase the amount of runoff that rivers and other water channels have to handle. The runoff collects in low-lying areas and rapidly flows downhill.
You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. But if you are in the pathway of such a flood, you’ll be scrambling for your life.
Such is true in life. We may have a time where all is calm and beautiful. Things are going smoothly, and we’re content. Then, out of nowhere, a flash flood threatens to drown us. Undoubtedly, this is a fight for your life — where you fight to hang on or you could lose everything.
In areas prone to flash floods, there are many signs warning of the danger. In our lives, particularly in our spiritual lives, a feeling of being really comfortable should be a warning sign that’s flashing at us saying, “watch out — the big one is coming!”
Some people disregard the signs warning about the potential for a flash flood, and many people lose their lives each year. The same is true figuratively. By not being prepared, we can easily be swept away by the floods that try to quench our spirits. It could be related to home life, work, friendships, or even issues within your own soul, such as depression, anxiety or you name it.
Oh how I have been there. And crazy as it may sound, the floods are pretty predictable. They’ve come when I’m content and comfortable — where I’ve dug out my little rut in life and think I could stay in a particular place forever. When I feel untouchable. When I feel confident in my abilities and plans, and everything seems to be in place. The floods have always come. Some have really knocked me for a loop, and it was all I could do to keep my head above water.
One major flood for Ian and me, believe it or not, was when we found out we were having twins. Everyone was so happy for us, but we were just drowning. Financially, we were in trouble. We had a tiny car that would not hold us and three kids. We had a teeny apartment — same issue. We would have to triple our daycare payment. And baby items? HAH — thinking we were good with one set of everything for our “baby” suddenly turned to panic as we realized we’d need two high chairs, two car seats, two cribs, double the diapers. We had one huge roller coaster of events relating to the birth of our twins, including a move, unemployment, financial struggles, aloneness — it went on and on. And the only thing we had to cling to was our hope in God. Boy — did we ever cling! We came through that time period with God’s grace, but that was an adventure I never want to repeat.
If you feel that all is going smoothly, perhaps that’s your warning that you should be prepared. Build the safeguards. As Christians, we’ve been taught to put on the full armor of God to help you stand against those battles. Even if you’re missing a piece of this armor, you put yourself at risk. Be fully prepared.
God didn’t promise that we’ll escape the turbulent waters of life, but He does promise to never leave nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6). More than that, He has promised to be with us when we are stuck in the waters.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.” – Isaiah 43:2
I don’t necessarily have the answers to the things that will threaten to bring you down, but let me reiterate the two things I do know:
- Be prepared. When all is going smoothly, you should expect the current to pick up.
- Have your flotation device. My hope is in the Lord, and I know He is able to save — not just me, but you — during smooth sailing and the storms of life. He is the lifter of our heads, and is able to help us when we feel we’re about to drown.
Take shelter from the storm in the arms of the only one who can calm it.
(For an added bonus, I found this song: “Let the Waters Rise“)