God is With Us - You

You know it’s the Dakotas when people like to talk about the weather…and wow, has there been weather to talk about lately!!  For us here in Mitchell, and the surrounding area, it’s been the rain.  In just two nights of rain this past week, we received anywhere from 8-10 inches of rain!  The average rainfall for South Dakota is around 20 inches, and to think we received half of that in just two nights!  That is crazy!  I have a feeling 2019 is going to be in the record books for our rainfall totals.

 If the rain isn’t enough, Sioux Falls (just an hour away) was hit by three tornadoes late Tuesday night.  I drove home from a church meeting that same night with the tornado sirens going off here in our community.  That had me watching the sky as I drove home, wondering what might be up there that I couldn’t see because of the darkness.  But tornadoes aren’t the usual weather for mid-September in South Dakota.  Yes, we do like to talk about our weather. 

 Fortunately, today and the next couple of days, are going to be mostly sunny.  We need that.  But with all the rain we’ve received, flooding is now the issue.  Roads and bridges are washed out.  Other roadways are flooded.  A dam at a local lake has failed.  Just getting around Mitchell is more challenging because of road closures due to high water. 

 Several of us in the church office were joking that we were just a bit early last year with our 2018 VBS Bible Verse.  Some of you might remember that the Bible verse for last year, 2018, was, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;”  Isaiah 43:2.   Maybe we were a bit early, but the message is right on time.

 Isaiah 43 was written when the people of Israel were experiencing exile in Babylon.  They were feeling abandoned, cut off, and ignored by God.  God’s message to them was that they were not forgotten.  Even in the midst of difficulties and struggles, God sent this reminder - God was with them. 

 I believe it was great that our VBS theme from a year ago involved water and pointed us to Isaiah 43.  You see, it’s important to have verses, or truths of God, tucked away in our hearts and mind so that when the situation arises or when we need them (like now), the verse is there.  In the midst of dealing with rain, floods, and difficulties, now is the time to remember this verse.  Yes, in the midst of the flood, in the midst of the water in the basement, in the midst of roads being washed out, in the midst of crops unable to be harvested (or maybe not even be planted), and even in the midst of the other difficulties of life – yes, even then…God is with us!  God is with me! 

 As you read this reflection, if these words touch you in some way deeply, or if they bring up feelings of despair and feelings of being alone, please take a moment to read these words again; God is with me.  Say these words out loud, wherever you are – God Is With Me!!!

 This has been a tough season for a lot of people.  Remember these words…believe these words…trust in the truth of these words…lean upon these words… God is with me!!  And if need be, please call someone to talk about what’s going on in your life.  You can even call me.  Just know this…God is with you!

 Serving Together,

Pastor Keith