10 years ago I was evacuated from my home due to flooding. I sat on the bed at a friend’s home and opened my Bible needing to hear from God that He cared about the desperate situation in my area. My Bible opened to Psalm 29.
Here’s a little background: For those not from Eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Palo in 2008, we had the worst flooding ever seen on record.
On Wednesday, June 11, the city completely evacuated all of its 980 citizens. All road access was later cut off, and the city went completely underwater. Around 90% of the structures in the community had damage from water. People were supposed to return to their homes on June 15, but were delayed by hazards such as contamination due to the flood and floating propane tanks. By Tuesday, June 17, it was reported that residents had for the most part returned home to deal with damage. Some buildings were more damaged than others; some had only a flooded basement to deal with, but for others, the water reached up to the first floor level.
On June 13, 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history, 31.12 feet. The previous record reached only 20 feet. The flood waters penetrated 10 square miles or 14 percent of the city. This monumental flood impacted 7,198 parcels, including 5,390 houses, dislocated more than 18,000 residents and damaged 310 City facilities. Just two weeks prior a small town an hour north of where I live was ripped apart by an EF5 tornado. ~ Cedar Rapids Gazette articles
Well those verses from Psalm 29 have not left me. They talk about “the voice of the Lord splitting cedars” – that was evident in the destruction in Parkersburg. As I read further, I was surrounded by incredible peace when I read, “the Lord is enthroned above the floods.” Ps 29:10a NIV
Things definitely were uncertain and recovery looked impossible. Especially to some of the Palo residents whom I got to know after the flood. They lost their homes, homes of their parents and siblings and children, they lost their income when their businesses were destroyed and they lost their church due to the record flooding. Yet through all the “impossibility” of what was surrounding our small town, God made impossible things happen. Neighbors who didn’t know each other, worked together first to sandbag and then to clean up. Strangers from literally around the world came month after month to help with the rebuilding. Cities and staff worked tirelessly to make reentry into our homes for the clean-up to begin as soon as possible. Friendships were made. The church rebuilt and added on. Businesses were supported by people from around Iowa who knew they would need additional help to recover. Palo has grown and, despite many losses, has made many improvements as well.
I hope you know and believe in the God of impossibilities, the God who rules over the floods and difficulties in your life. ~ Faye