The mud dammed a river which caused water to rise to the eaves of some homes. At this writing, more than two dozen bodies had been found. Many more are missing and officials said the outlook is grim for finding survivors.
From the beginning of time, water and fire have been essential for man. However, they can also be raging enemies. An out-of-control fire can and does destroy much property and claim many lives. Heavy rains can soak mountainsides and cause unbelievable havoc, such as took place at Oso.
Can anything be more dangerous than uncontrolled fire and water? As the Bible describes the trials of believers, it uses the terms water and fire.
Note the Psalmist’s words: “We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12).
The ancient Job compared his trials to being thrown into a furnace. “When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Notice his triumphant comment, “I shall come forth” (“through the fire”).
Some raise the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does the mountain slide or homes burn? Though we may not know why, we do know that as part of humanity, we may face devastating circumstances.
Consider Job again. In the midst of his calamitous time, he wailed, “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure” (Job 14:1, 2).
Before Job’s world caved in, all was going well. He was a rich man with much property, a good family, and he was highly respected. The day things fell apart started normally.
His plowmen went to the fields, his herdsmen to the pastures, his camels left with their herders, and his children went to a party.
Then Job’s world exploded. A messenger raced up and panted out the shattering news that the plowing oxen and the feeding donkeys had been stolen, and the workers slain.
Before he finished, another worker appeared and breathlessly said all the sheep and the shepherds had been killed in a lightning storm.
Immediately another runner bounded in and, with shortness of breath, exclaimed that all the camels had been stolen and the workers slain.
While poor Job was receiving this report, a fourth messenger brought the most calamitous news of all. He panted out that a violent storm had destroyed the house and killed all 10 of his children.
How would we respond to such unthinkable tragedy? Such overwhelming sorrow would surely crush us. Hopefully, like Job, we would turn to God for solace.
We may never receive as much devastating news as did Job. But we do sometimes face shattering circumstances, such as an overwhelming landslide, flames engulfing our home or a dear loved one dying or a plane vanishing with 239 people aboard.
Considering adversity, Thomas Carlyle said, “The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.”
God has His reasons for allowing trouble to come. Henry Ward Beecher commented, “Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”
Job knew how to handle calamities. When the devastating news came he arose, worshipped God and exclaimed: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”