While writing this article on Labor Day, the air is thick with the smoke from area fires surrounding us. Many people are wearing different kinds of masks to protect themselves from the negative effects of breathing the heavy smoke. Long-time friends of ours who live in Montana are on notice to evacuate their home at any minute as the fires draw nearer.
At the same time, the dire effects of Hurricane Harvey are still prominent in the news. Hurricane Irma and other tropical storms threaten the entire gulf region and Atlantic seaboard. Recovery from these fires, floods and other storms will be extremely difficult and take years in many cases.
While the Lord doesn’t promise that there will never be fires or floods to deal with in life (in fact He tells us that there will be troubles of many kinds), He does promise to be with us through them — and even promises to work good out of them, if we will entrust ourselves to Him through them (Romans 8:28).
This promise is just one of many that we find in Scripture that people of faith are claiming during these tragedies, and are heartening to witness as we see them portrayed in the news. The outpouring of love, care and provision in response to the needs, and the resulting unity of people who are suffering with those who are responding adds to the positive and heartening testimonies.
Among the other promises from Scripture that many are claiming during these trying times are a couple from Isaiah and the Psalms: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2-3)... “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace... We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 29:10-11; 66:12b).
I am also reminded of the promising words from an old hymn, “God Leads Us Along”: “Some through the water, some through the flood; Some through the fire, but all through the blood. Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song: in the night season, and all the day long.” What a precious promise, and an even more precious reality, for those of us who have experienced it!
We may not all be able to go physically or give much materially to those in need, whether near or far, but we can all join together with those who are suffering and responding — through claiming the same promises on behalf of them. Our prayers and the faith they are based in do make a difference, and God does work through them to help those in need. Through these, we are truly one in “fire and flood faith” with those who are going through them, and God is glorified through it all!
Pastor Jon L. Pomeroy can be reached at Sandpoint Church of God.