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Sunday, January 8, 2017

(Jumping ahead to this Psalm, and we will catch up with 147 in a bit.)

PSALM 148
verses 1-4

Here we go!  It's like we are being taken to the top of the Ferris wheel and it is stopping us at its height.  Safety bar is locked in and we are swaying as the view is terrifyingly beautiful, but my heart has dropped into my stomach!


"Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens!
And the waters that are stored above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also commanded and they were created.
He has established them forever and ever,
He has made a decree which will not pass away."


Okay, the waters He stored above the heavens are set to come pouring down as we are in a flood watch.  Disasters are horrible to go through.  We were stressed to the max when our home was flooded twenty years ago during the last time we had this much snow melt and rain.  However, like watching a thunder and lightning storm, or a hail storm, there is a fascination in watching the uncontrolled power of nature, even if a new tributary of the river happens to appear in your backyard tearing away a huge chunk of a roadway in its path.  Even if we are involved in a fender bender, not as devastating as others experienced, we are lookie-loos watching.  Others lost their lives while we lost sopping wet junk. 



Observe nature unleashed.  Man cannot cover mountain ranges with snow.  Man cannot fill rivers to rushing overflows consuming everything in its path.  It is a work of nature that only God controls.  He shakes us up a little bit every once in a while, just as a reminder.  It's okay to have a little God-fear.


A little reminder: the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  A few of our congregation looked at us who had water in the parsonage with judgmental eyes as if we perhaps were missing the mark of perfection, perhaps not as deserving of God's grace since they were spared and we were not.  Hmm.  What we will do is praise God even in the storm.  .


However, I must admit, praising God isn't the first thing that comes to mind during a flood. because you are busy.  As the water rises, you have to choose what are the most important things to save and place them up high.  You have to determine as the water start coming in, where you will go to escape and by what means, by boat or on the two-ton flatbed you can catch a ride on at 2AM with your kids, your man and your dog and a few belongings hoping it can make it driving through high water.  When we canoed in to see the damage the next day, our neighbors yelled at us because our paddling was causing tiny waves that threatened to enter over their still dry threshold. 


  

Afterwards, when some Red Cross youngster came by to ask if we were okay emotionally during clean-up, I wasn't in the presence of mind to be confessing my soul to her: just hand over the jug of bleach and move out of the way.  When the T.V. cameras came to interview us as we chucked our belongings, I wasn't very cheerful and welcoming and didn't mind my growling dog chasing them away.  Yep, I passed up a chance to be on television.  It's hard to be hunky-dory and smiling while hefting enough soggy, ruined things to fill one of those huge dumpsters and surviving in a house that smelled worse than a wet dog that had tangled with a skunk as walls were torn up and stinky moldy insulation and hardwood floors that had buckled were torn out.


Yet, acts of nature inspire awe, even if it brings major consequential effects.  I learned that as a child while we watched safely from our covered porch huge hail stones bouncing off my parent's car causing dingies.  I've watched boulders as big as cars bounce down mountain sides to become a landslide in Colorado as we drove away in time to escape being caught, later talking to a man whose car was buried as he scrambled out just in time.   I learned that while sitting on the rooftop watching a fire burning up the hill wondering if it will jump the road and start burning the houses up towards us. 


Fire, flood, ice storms, hail and unsteady snow packs are all out of man's control. Yet, after the rain, the crystal clear view is almost bindingly beautiful even at a distance as the snowy peaks are bright and in sight from the Tahoe range to Mt. Lassen, to the tip of Mt. Shasta.   Praise Him with the angels and the stars that sing from the heights with the sun and moon.

(actually a picture of Mt. Rainier, not Shasta)

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