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Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Memorable St. Patrick's Day

St, Patrick’s Day, 1973, Gloria, our three children, and I moved into a house in Green Mountain, Lakewood, Colorado. The master bedroom, a bathroom, and large family room with a fireplace were in the basement. Memorial Day morning, that same year, I stepped out of bed into cold, clear water. The basement was flooding. Soon, water was pouring through the floor and even through the fireplace.

We struggled until August to stop the flooding, but nothing worked. The concrete basement floor was only ½-inch thick, and it was porous. The contractor we hired to lay drainage tile abandoned the project. The gas lines were sagging, and the city was ready to condemn the property. Apparently, an underground stream had found its way into our house, the lowest house on the street. We lost the house, and learned that insurance does not cover damage caused by water that comes from below ground.

We learned a few other things too.

We learned that some Christians add insult to injury. Some of my coworkers at the Christian publishing house where I worked as an editor joked about my “swimming pool.”

We learned that some Christians demonstrate compassion by helping. One coworker sloshed through the water with me and helped me move furniture from the basement. Another, a member of a small church I was serving as interim pastor, offered a loan to get us back on our feet. (I chose not to accept it, but I appreciated his thoughtfulness.) Also, the church, Ralston Hills Baptist Church of Arvada, Colorado, let us move into the back of the church and live rent-free as long as we needed to.

We learned that material things may be swept away—literally—in an instant, but the Lord’s faithfulness withstands trials. In time, we recovered financially and were able to assume a loan on a small house in Denver.

We learned that who we have is far more important than what we have. The flood removed only material possessions, not our children.

Some of these lessons were hard to grasp, but they are enduring.

St, Patrick’s Day, 1973, was a gloomy day, but this St. Patrick’s Day is a good day to celebrate God’s faithfulness.

The chorus to G.A. Young’s “God Leads Us Along” affirms:

“Some thro’ the waters, some thro’ the flood, Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood; Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.”