A Tennessee church finds the joy of the Lord in the midst of disaster.
Our Faith Rises Above the Floodwaters
by Robert J. Morgan
As the Tennessee floodwaters began to recede, it quickly became apparent that members of the congregation at Donelson Free Will Baptist Church in Nashville were among those hardest hit by the flood. Pastor Rob Morgan addressed the situation in the following article, adapted from the May 9 issue of the Tennessean. As the recovery stretched from days into weeks, the church cleared its chapel and opened a community donation center where flood victims could replace items lost in the flood [pictured below].
We’ll remember this week as long as we live—homes underwater, possessions swept away, neighbors in need, city in crisis. We’ll never forget being mobilized in sudden love.
Government officials, civic organizations, and churches instantly transformed themselves into good Samaritans that would have made the original proud. We’ve lost much, but the waters couldn’t touch the things we cannot lose.
As Jesus reminded us in Luke 12:15, our lives consist not in the abundance of the things we possess. One of the keys to staying afloat is to focus on things we cannot lose. We can remember them by using the acronym PRAISE.
Presence of God. Psalm 46 reads, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Notice the progression: He is a help. He is a present help. He is a very present help in trouble.
Resources of Heaven. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said our Heavenly Father knows our needs. According to the Apostle Paul, God has promised to meet those needs out of the riches of His grace.
Attitude of joy. Jesus said, “You will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” I am reminded of the words of Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, who lost everything in a Nazi death camp. “The one thing that cannot be taken from us,” he said, “is our right to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.” With God’s help we can choose the joy of the Lord, the strength of our life.
Influence. Every good deed, every word of witness, and each act of kindness is part of a chain-reaction that will continue till the end of time. We’re here today because generations before us faced fires, floods, and floggings; and they remained faithful. Our works will follow us, according to the book of Revelation.
Savior. No disaster can take away Jesus and when we have Him, we have all we need. The old hymn put it this way: “His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay. On Christ the Solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Eternal home. The apostle Peter said, “He has given us new birth into...an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade, reserved in heaven for you.” I can say on good authority that the Celestial City is indestructible. The Crystal River will never flood. The mansions of glory will never catch fire. The foundations will never crumble. We have a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
This week our homes have been damaged, but our hearts have been strengthened. We’ve lost things we cannot keep, but we’ve been reminded of things that we can never lose, and that’s why we can praise God through the flood.
About the Writer: Bestselling author Robert J. Morgan pastors the Donelson Free Will Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, where he has pastored for 29 years.