Monday, June 30, 2008

When the Flood Comes

I spent last week in New Orleans hanging drywall - and am once again thankful that God called me to preach. We had a great time. I actually enjoy hanging drywall, but I have no idea why.

On Thursday, the contractor who is overseeing the project we worked on stopped by for an inspection. I also had a conversation with an electrical contractor. They told me some things that shocked me (actually, I guess they didn't shock me as much as they saddened me).

I remarked to the electrical contractor how shocked I was at the devatation remaining in New Orleans three years after the flood. He said that NO would never recover until people stopped stealing the money given to rebuild. FEMA gave grants to people to rebuild their homes and some spent them on new cars and big-screen TV's. Others were taken to the cleaners by scam artists posing as contractors. Having blown their money, or had it taken from them, they are now looking for volunteers to rebuild their homes. The other contractor told me that whenever an inspector comes by, you fold up a 50-dollar bill in your hand and shake hands with him. No money, no inspection. This is the way things have always been in New Orleans. Corruption. Graft. Hedonism. Wickedness. Its the "Big Easy" way.

Here's my point. I knew about the graft and corruption. It has been chronicled often. But last week, I saw the results of the New Orleans way.

You see, who you are before the flood determines how you respond when the flood comes.

New Orleans lived the "good life." Fun. Party! Let the good times roll. But when the flood came, they did not have the personal resources to respond. Even when they were given generous settlements, they could not rebuild their lives. The corruption ate away their resolve and self-control. When the flood came, their spiritual bankruptcy was exposed.

Those who know Jesus Christ and walk with Him are often surprised when their lives are blown apart, because they find a source of strength they did not know they had. The sustaining grace of Jesus Christ lifts them up and empowers them to go on.

It is one of many reasons to walk with Jesus. Someday, somewhere, somehow, the flood will find you. It happens to all of us at one point or another. If you are walking in the flesh, living for yourself, seeking the things of the world, you may not have the spiritual resources.

Walking with Christ does not necessarily protect you from the flood. But it gives you the sustaining grace you need to go through it.

(NOTE: what I wrote above is a generalization. I believe it is generally true. It is certainly NOT true of every person in New Orleans. There are good, honest, hard-working people in that city.)


Todd Bacon said...

From everything I've ever heard about it.. I have zero interest to ever visit New Orleans... generally speaking.

A guy from our church went down there right after the disaster to serve meals to the volunteers crews and as far as I know, he's STILL down there.

Sounds like it will be a long, long road to recovery.

doctorj2u said...

First, thank you for your help. Secondly, I don't know ONE person that wasted their rebuilding money on luxuries. I DO know many that lost it to dishonest contractors.

Dave Miller said...

I know nothing firsthand. I am only going on what two contractors told me about the situation.

They also talked about the unscrupulous contractors who did just as you said.

I can tell you this, New Orleans is like going to a foreign country to this Iowa boy.