Pray for the Family in New Orleans

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I’m pretty blessed to be traveling home from the city of New Orleans. I loved being with my sisters in the Chalmette church, but they are living on the edge right now, specifically on the edge of the Mississippi River just a few days prior to its crest. The waters of the Mississippi have risen and wreaked havoc in portions of Missouri and Mississippi already and they are threatening to break or rise over levees to flood Baton Rouge and New Orleans as I write. Today the governor opened an additional spillway, a gateway that will automatically flood a predicted 3000 acres under some 25 feet of water. It still seems to be the lesser of two evils, as it looks as if that area may flood anyway and the more densely populated areas in the cities may be spared the floods by this diversion of the water. There is no way everyone can be happy about the governor’s decision, however. Something is going underwater.

Surely this crest must be a little reminiscent to the people there of the hurricane that produced the flood of all floods there six years ago. I was amazed as I saw pictures of the building in which I spoke submerged to the roof in the aftermath of Katrina. (I’m sure practically all of the current building is really not the same as the one in the picture.) The photo was actually taken after the waters had receded. During the worst days it had been totally submerged. The only way folks would have known the building was there was if they accidentally bumped into its roof with their boats.

These brave sisters were troopers. Some of them were nurses who never evacuated the torrent that was New Orleans at the time, although their husbands and children traveled to higher ground. Some were forced to evacuate, leaving behind every material possession, including educational pursuits and/ongoing medical procedures. They went to places where people could not fully understand the total devastation of Katrina. After a couple of months, people in the states to which they had fled began to ask, “Is your new house in New Orleans almost finished?” These people did not understand that there were no materials left with which to rebuild, that there were no architects or contractors left to design and execute, that the waters that had been above rooflines had not fully receded, that the stench of death was still potent and that the insurance funding, when existent, was extremely slow in being allocated. The rebuilding process, for those who did rebuild was painfully slow. Some of these women were school teachers who were told that there would be no more school for the entire year. One of these teachers was called back to New Orleans to teach those destitute children who did not evacuate. Since they did not have housing in which to live, the school board set up mobile housing for them on school property. With each day, new students returned pushing their portable classrooms way beyond capacity, especially considering the shortage of supplies.

I saw huge concrete pads with trees growing in the crevices, evidencing malls and department stores that will never be rebuilt. I saw homes where water soaked furniture was never removed and windows were simply boarded up. In some cases houses were just left unsecured and looters first had a heyday, followed by homeless people moving into the molded ruins.  In every populated place in America today, there are people who once called New Orleans home; people who will never forget Katrina.

Will you join me in prayer for our sisters who are, once again, fearful of the flooding? They are fearful, yet still faithful. They are strong, yet realize their great dependency on the great I Am. They’ve been down, but never out. They have once put their worlds back together, but when they completed the project last time, they understood clearly that what they had completed was just temporary housing. Perhaps more than most of us, they are keenly aware that all houses of wood and stone are temporary. Perhaps they know how to long for the “house not made with hands” (1 Cor. 5:1)–the one that cannot be defiled (1 Peter 1:4) — more ardently than do we.

Yesterday I sang with those sweet sisters “though lashing seas leap everywhere about me, they cannot harm or make my heart afraid.”  Maybe the most applicable passage is Psalms 32:6-7:

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Let’s pray for the righteous in New Orleans. They have a big job to do in a city of profligate living. Multitudes are going under in more ways than one in that historic city.
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