And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.—Matthew 7:25 NASB
Summertime means rainy season in Central Florida, where the skies will fall about the same time every afternoon, only to give way to the unrelenting heat of the sun. As longtime Floridians, we’re accustomed to summer rains. But this summer threw us a loop.
By mid-June, our backyard was already beginning to flood as the lake behind us infiltrated the back of our property. A county stormwater and drainage official came out twice to assess the flooding. My husband’s office building, about 100 feet from the lakefront, was officially deemed on the outside cusp of a floodplain. The worst-case scenario, we were told, was that the water would come within a few feet of the building.
Regardless, as Hurricane Ian approached, my husband prepared for the worst of the worst. He brought all electronics into the main house and got everything off his office floor. He put flood barriers and sandbags around the doors and outside walls. He covered the outside doors with plastic sheeting.
Then the rain fell and the floods came. As feared, Hurricane Ian ignored the flood map. The morning after the storm had begun to come through, about 80 percent of our backyard acreage was underwater. My husband’s office had flooded. But our house appeared undamaged while many people in Southwest Florida had lost everything. My husband wept as he prayed for them at breakfast. By comparison, we could not complain.
As veterans of hurricanes, we got right to work cleaning up what we could and putting things back in order. Our oldest son’s onetime bedroom became a makeshift office for my husband. We immediately contacted FEMA and the Small Business Administration to get help with rebuilding the office. We secured the contractor redoing our master bath to demo and rebuild the office. (Note to future self: Don’t plan a renovation during hurricane season.)
It wasn’t until a damage assessor from the SBA came out that I realized how the Lord had insulated us from the brunt of the stress of our situation. “You didn’t tell me how bad it was,” she said as she seemed to fight tears.
We now have flood insurance. We will soon have a low-interest loan to help with the cost of rebuilding the office. We have a contractor. Others still don’t know where to begin.
We’re still waiting for the water to recede. We still are unable to assess the damage to our fencing. We’re still praying the Lord will not allow us to lose any of the massive trees sitting in water for so long.
Yes, God allowed this to happen. Nothing happens except by His hand or His permission. But through it all, He has given us sufficient grace and His peace that surpasses all understanding. He is good.
We say that often in times of blessing. But His goodness isn’t limited to those times when life is good. He remains good even when life is hard and uncertain and we’re searching for the nearest exit ramp off this crazy ride.
Even as the storms come and the floodwaters rise, He remains unchanging. He is our rock that cannot be moved. May His strength be made perfect in your weakness through every trial.