Tuesday, February 08, 2011

In the Shadow of your Wings

I haven't lived through a natural disaster, but in the last 2 years I've watched my countrymen and women brave firestorms and raging floods of Biblical proportions. And now, in the last few days, a tropical rain storm blasted its way into our weather system, with a tail so powerful it lashed my own city two days later with devastating results. 

When Australia was hit by record breaking floods in January, the story blew everything else off our TV screens. We watched in horror as story after story broke, and the heartache of flood victims hit home. 

Then, greedy for attention and building in momentum, Tropical Cyclone Yasi roared in from across the Pacific less then 2 weeks later, adding dread to a country already crippled by disaster. Warnings issued to the residents of Far North Queensland came fast and strong all day, as the category 5 cyclone headed our way. 

The message could not have been clearer. "Don't bother to pack. Just get out." Like sleeping faces, houses and businesses were boarded up and secured. Families bundled their treasures and tried to out-run the storm, while others bunkered down and stayed behind to face whatever the night would bring. 

By midnight the wind and rain lashed the shores of many coastal towns and those of us watching from the southern states fell into a fitful sleep of prayer and more prayer. 

Dawn news reports brought the eerie sights of a landscape decimated by wind and water, and anything it could carry for ammunition. Trees, beaten and stripped, stood like weaklings in a mess of strewn leaves and debris. Houses slumped in their own mangled mess, many without a roof. People huddled in evacuation shelters, or emerged from their homes to survey the scene. 

Unbelievably, unlike the flood news of two weeks ago, reporters marveled at the remarkable preservation of life. Yes, God was listening. Not one fatality made it to the news reports that day, although sadly that has now been revised to one.

So we watch again, as a fresh disaster mingles with another, and the clean up begins for thousands of displaced families. And once again, we are reminded of God's mercy in times of trouble for those who look to Him for shelter and call on His name.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7