There’s a dark conversation going around Australia at the moment. People are imaginatively measuring their homes for flood. In Busselton, for example, we live on the ‘delta’ of the Vasse River, so despite the drained, reclaimed land and the channels taking excess water out to sea, we are still vulnerable to flood. And, speaking of the sea, because we are only centimetres above the sea level, a tsunami would crash its way kilometres ashore.
We keep these conversations dark because our focus shouldn’t really be on ourselves but on the plight of those whose homes, livelihoods and lives have been affected by the real floods – not the ones in our imaginations.
As concerned Christians and Franciscans, we should be looking for ways to be better informed, generous in praying and giving money and offering practical help where possible (all expressions of love). (The best appeal I can find is the Premier’s Appeal at www.qld.gov.au/floods. If you specifically want to help Anglican parishes get back onto their feet, give to the Australian Anglican Primate’s Appeal. You can give electronically to: Archbishop’s Emergency Relief Fund; A/C BSB: 704-901; A/C No.: 00014858.)
But we must attend to these dark conversations too. When he was afraid, David cried out, “In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid, what can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:4) Our worries about our own homes are natural, but in a way they are not worthy of us.
Firstly, our love should go out to those who are actually in need in the ways I have suggested earlier. Secondly, our response can continue to be trust and not fear. “In God I trust, I am not afraid”, for how can essentially material damage harm me? Fear always diminishes us, trust always makes life more spacious and gracious.
So when your conversation turns to the dark side, take courage and bring the light of trust. You may need to say, “Yes, it’s theoretically possible that we will get flooded, but shouldn’t we be thinking about those who are actually dealing with mud and muck and discouragement?” We may need to remind ourselves that God hasn’t changed: God is still worthy of our trust. God is still faithful. Praise God!