Posts Tagged ‘flooding’

2016-06-05 15.27.04For Christmas, I received one of those digital photo frames that changes the displayed photo every few seconds. My husband painstakingly went through all my photos, chose a random selection and uploaded them to my new device. Now, as I sit at our dining-room table and glance across the room, I am reminded of family and friends, of significant events, of places I have visited and beautiful flowers I have admired. But there is one photo that always sends a little shudder down my spine—and that is the one pictured here of the backyard of our old home in Rydalmere on one of those wonderful occasions years ago when the creek over our back fence suddenly became a raging torrent and spread far and wide.

Thankfully, this did not happen often—but when it did, a major, backbreaking clean-up needed to be undertaken. Yet I was always grateful that, while the flood would leave an incredible amount of mud and rubbish in our yard and even semi-flatten our side fence, we knew the water would not rise high enough to get into our house. And that was because our house was built on a rocky kind of protrusion that formed a little headland and included our neighbour’s land on the upside of our house. Yes, the water would swirl around that headland and flow into our back yard with glee, then onwards into all the other yards lower down our street—but it would never rise further than the bottom of our back steps.

So … can you see why I shudder a little whenever this photo catches my eye now? Yes, we could replace it with one that conjures up much more pleasant memories, yet I am also grateful for the reminder that photo has brought me in recent weeks. And that, of course, is the reminder that, just like our homes need a solid foundation to remain secure when those floods come, we too need a firm foundation on which to base our lives, year in and year out.

I think God wanted to reinforce this reminder because, this past week, as I was reading Luke’s Gospel, I came to the story Jesus told about the wise and foolish builders.

Why do you call me, ’Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. Luke 6:46-49

At times, I know I can take in God’s words and, sadly, let them flow straight out of my brain a moment later—before I have allowed them to change me at any deep level and stir me to action. What a sobering story Jesus told—and what a salutary reminder not merely to listen to the Lord but to do what he says!

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About a week ago, we returned from a trip to Victoria, just prior to all the flooding in the north-eastern part of the state. As we drove, we enjoyed the lush, green countryside but also noted the swollen rivers and creeks and the large amount of water lying beside the roads. The constant heavy rains have been a blessing to many, filling the dams and soaking the soil, but they have also now caused widespread destruction to homes, farms, roads and bridges in the area. Dorothea Mackellar was certainly right when she talked about both the beauty and the terror of our ‘wide, brown land’ in her well-known poem ‘My Country’.

Towards the end of our time away, an alarming event occurred in my nephew’s backyard in Bendigo, as a result of all the rain. One Saturday morning, the family woke to find their large rainwater tank tilted at a very awkward angle. Realising that if the tank split, then litres and litres of water would cascade through the neighbour’s property, not to mention their own, they called the SES and friends for assistance. As a result, all the water was pumped out and the empty tank moved to another spot. A steel fence was also placed around the now gaping hole beside where the tank had been, in order to keep out my nephew’s three little boys, plus a collection of their inquisitive young friends!

As I write this, it is still unclear exactly why the ground near the base of the tank became so unstable. Many properties in Bendigo are built over old goldmining shafts – was that the reason for the cave-in? After all, the resulting hole was about eight feet long – and no one could actually see how deep it was! Or was it just the relentless rain that had caused the disaster?

Whatever the reason, one thing is clear. The ground near the tank had given way. While the base built for the tank remained strong and firm, the same could not be said for the earth beside and beneath one edge.

Does this remind you of an illustration Jesus used on one occasion? In Matthew 7:24-25 we read:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Jesus goes on to contrast this with the house built on the sand, which eventually ‘fell with a great crash’.  I’m happy my nephew’s tank didn’t fall ‘with a great crash’ – but I feel so much happier about the fact that his life and that of his little family are on a very firm footing. While the ground around their tank may be in question, their own lives are built securely on the firm foundation that Jesus illustrates here – that of sincerely trying to take in his words and put them into practice, even in very challenging ways.

So how firm is your foundation? Is your life on slightly shaky ground? Let’s all be sure we listen well to Jesus and then live as he wants us to.

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