Psalm 46:1-3–“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
I confess I was stunned by the timeliness of the above-quoted verse as I came across it during an early morning time of meditation this week. Like so many of you, I had been horrified and saddened to hear of the tragedy in Washington state when a mudslide, suddenly and without warning, obliterated an entire neighborhood. What terrible loss, what unimaginable sadness for the survivors, I thought. And, what a terrifying death it must have been for those souls lost. My heart was heavy and my mind could hardly comprehend the magnitude of the disaster.
This morning’s paper enlightened me about a similar event occurring in the wake of Hurricane Camille when 150 people were killed in Virginia. The year was 1969. And where was I, I wondered?
Wrapped in my 19-year-old centricity? Suffering through the angst of almost adulthood? So wrapped in my own world that the event did not even register in my memory. Shame on me!
We humans are repeatedly shocked by the devastation of natural disasters. Snow storms and ice storms, blizzards and nor’easters–these the progeny of the polar vortex that now is such a familiar part of our weather vocabulary. Tornadoes and hurricanes, floods and droughts, earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanoes and sinkholes. The world is, indeed, the stage for all of Mother Nature’s acts, some quite terrible. And how does our abuse of this planet contribute to what seems to be an epidemic of disastrous events? I wondered.
So, how do we not fear (at least once in a while)? We humans generally inherently fear death in all its forms. Unless, that is, we have some firm belief in life after death. I comfort myself with the image of those victims of the mudslide, wrapped in God’s loving arms, accompanied by some comforting angel, crossing gently over. At least I pray that was so.
For, after all, we have the promise of a better life after this one, a promise pictured beautifully in the blossoming dogwood. Upon that truth we should depend. I do so hope you share that knowledge.