By this time not just my neighborhood but thousands of homes and businesses throughout the Greater Binghamton Region were now inundated by the Susquehanna River. The word inundated is not one you hear every day, it means to flood; cover or overspread with water. I think the second definition however says it better, and it's simply to overwhelm. The communities we live in our homes, favorite stores, restaurants, and churches have been overwhelmed with water.
The water was so overwhelming it seemed like every ten minutes you heard rumors of more levy's breaking, another flood wall being breached, or that the river crest was delayed once again, offering little sign of hope. Streets and highways were closed, power outages, and the sounds of sirens and helicopters filled the air. Everywhere you looked people were scrambling to remove water from their homes using everything from pumps to small kitchen bowls. For some people the word overwhelm doesn't even do justice to what what the water did to their home or business. It seemed like the water sucked everyone dry of laughter and happiness, while there certainly were not any rainbows to be found. At least not your ordinary rainbow let me explain.
After a long day of pumping out my basement which held 3ft. of water at its highest, my father-in-law and I went to go look at his church which was completely surrounded by water. At the time, the closest we could get was about 400 yards to the building from the edge of the water line. On the edge of the water a tractor business was frantically trying to keep water out and more damage from happening to their property. My father-in-law told them he was the pastor of the church down the street that was surrounded with water, and asked if he could pray for them and their business. So all the employee's gathered in a circle and we prayed, after prayer we began to head to our car.
We only walked a short distance when we heard on of the employee's yell, "Hey Pastor!" We turned around to see this big man all covered in dirt soaking with water and his facial expression giving the impression he was wrestling with something. The he inquired very sheepishly, "Doesn't the Bible say something about a rainbow?" Long pause as he looked down defeated only to follow with this statement. "You know that God will never destroy us." To which my father-in-law grinned and replied, "You better believe it." The man now smiling headed back to work with hope that our community has been overwhelmed but has not been defeated.
So there is something about rainbows after all, rainbows don't have to be some color phenomenon in the sky. I believe rainbows are any sign of hope that we can move on and there is a heavenly Father up there looking out for us. Among the chaos and devastation; if you look hard enough you can find small glimpses of hope and restoration. You can start to see the rainbows of humanity arching over an inundated community encouraging everyone to persevere and press on. Rainbows are found in neighbors working together or forming new relationships. Rainbows are the random acts of kindness and hospitality that would not normally take place. In a way I believe this tragedy has broke this region of selfishness and implemented a scene of giving.
I only pray that the churches here will continue to work together so that we can inundate the Greater Binghamton Region with hope and the loving presence of God. We are far from no longer feeling the pain, but I believe we are well on our way to a recovery that will eave us better than the river orginally found us. Maybe this is easy for me to say because I was fortunate not to lose much; I can't imagine how it must feel to lose everything in your basement, your home, or even your church/business. But in the end no lives were lost and all that was destroyed was just stuff, stuff we can't take with us when we die anyway. What we are left with is the choice to be a light or should I say a rainbow to a neighbor or our surrounding community.
"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:10-11