According to an online article that I read this week, a total of 40 people died from the floodwaters which devastated Houston, Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. A record-breaking fifty-one inches of rain had fallen in the Houston and the surrounding areas of Texas and Louisiana. The people who were affected by the floods, tornadoes, and winds cause them to lose homes, vehicles and personal belonging. At least over 30000 people are now living in shelters because they had to be evacuated from their homes because of the rising flood waters.
In one particular shelter which was the Toyota Center where the Houston Rockets play at, five thousand bed cots were brought by the American Red Cross to give people a place of shelter from the storm. However, as the people of Houston and affected area kept coming, there were news reports that the amount cots that were there was not enough and more cots were needed.
Since Hurricane Harvey has passed and the flood waters have receded, we have seen images of first responders, FEMA and tons of volunteers helping people to recover from the storm. Thousands of dollars are being raised and donated by people, stars and athletes to help with the rebuilding of people lives. Yes, there has been a great loss of property, homes, and resources, however, the loss of life was far minimal compared to past Hurricane storms. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, the loss of life was over 1800 people. My prayers and thoughts are with the families who love ones that died in the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey. However, that what the enemy meant for the destruction of the people of Houston, the Lord will turn their situation around to show them and our country that He can bring people through a storm. Not only can the Lord bring them through their storm by His mighty hand but He is able to bring us through ours as well and we can have a testimony that we are Fireproof.
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isaiah 43:1-2).
Many times as believers we pray and ask the Lord to deliver us from things that trouble us either externally or internally. Our God is faithful to His word and His people and He always answers prayer. Sometimes our prayers are not answered when we think they should be but the Lord still comes through in His timing. In Isaiah 65:24 the Lord told the Prophet Isaiah, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear”. However, there are other times in our relationship with Him that He will not deliver us immediately from a situation we face. Sometimes there is a lesson that the Lord wants us to learn from by going through the waters. The blessing in us going through the waters of our trials is that we do not go through them alone. The Lord promised us that He would be with us as we go through the waters. When you have the assurance of someone presence, that is important to you even if they do not have the resources to get you through your trial. The person’s presence provides you with a source of courage that you will make it through the waters. How much more when we have the Lord presence and His provision that we will get us through what we are facing.
Another reason why the Lord will permit us to go through certain things is that it will build up our faith and give us a testimony what the Lord has done for us. There are several names that the Lord is known by in the word of God which describes His nature and His character. When we go through the waters of financial crisis, our first reaction is to pray and ask the Lord to deliver us from it. However, when we experience the loss of employment and the unemployment checks have stopped, it is an opportunity for us to go through the waters and learn that our Father is our provider. If you are going through a battle with cancer, the battle is not yours but it is an opportunity for you to go through the waters and experience for yourself that our God is a Healer (Exodus 15:26). If you have lived in a state of not wanting to accept that your love one has transition to be with the Lord in Heaven, the Lord is giving you the chance know Him as the God of comfort and the Father of all mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3). Sometimes in our life, we have to go through life challenges because going through is the only way out.
The rivers of difficulty
A second reason why the Lord has made us Fireproof is because He has promised that the rivers or the floods will not overflow us. In the New Living Translation of Isaiah 43:2 that same verse says “that we will not drown in the rivers of difficulty”. We all remember those desperate cries for help from people who were trapped on their roofs after Hurricane Katrina had hit their area. The levies in their wards had broken as a result of the impact of the storm and people homes had overflowed with floods waters. We saw and heard the reports of people having to break holes in their roofs so that they could keep from drowning to death in their homes. On the news, we saw people being airlifted from their roofs and also learning the chilling reality that there were others who died by the flood waters which had overtaken them. I also heard one testimony this week from an elderly woman that she and husband who could not walk feared they would drown to death because of the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey. However, a neighbor who lived behind them who they never met came to rescued them and carried her husband in his arms and drove them to safety in his pickup truck away from the flood waters. This man act of heroism reminded me of why the Lord promised us that we will not drown in the rivers of difficulty.
When we are faced with our own rivers of difficulty, we have to take courage and know that the Lord is not going to let us drown in what we are going through in our life. Our God is a very present help and He has promised “to never leave us and nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). We have the promise of the Lord’s presence and we also have the promises of God from His word. When we see the flood waters rising around us and we feel overwhelmed, we can stand on the promise of Psalms 61:2, “that when my heard is overwhelm He will lead me to the rock which is higher than I”. When there are times when nothing seems to be going right and everything is going wrong, we still have to know that our God is still on the throne. When the enemy comes in like a flood, we can stand on the promise of God in Isaiah 59:19 which says “the Lord will lift up a standard against him”. Where there is hatred, strife, and racism all around us, we do not have to allow our hearts to grow cold by not sharing the love of God with others. We can stand on the promise of God found in Psalms 32:6 which says when we pray for the grace to forgive others, the Lord will not allow the floods of great waters to overwhelm our spirits.
The fire and the flame
A final reason why the Lord has made us fireproof is that He will not allow the fire or the flame to destroy us but that it can refine us. When gold or silver are placed in the fire, the fire will help to get rid of all of the impurities and dross that in it. As the impurities are removed, the gold and the silver is refined and created in a form that has great worth and value who wants to purchase it. In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers “that every work will be tried and made known by the fire”. If our work represents wood, hay, and stubble the fire will consume it and we will suffer loss. Our character as a man or woman if it is of the same materials the fire will make known our character as well and we suffer loss because of having poor character. However, if our work or character represents the gold and silver when the fire comes test who we are, people should see not us but should see Christ in us. Our prayer to the Lord should be burn everything that is in me which is not like you. The Lord is a refiner fire and He will not allow the fire and flame to kindle upon us but to change us into His willing vessel honor (Malachi 3:2).
One extra point why the Lord will not allow the flame to kindle upon us is that the fire can also help reveal our convictions in what we stand for. In Daniel 3:13-30 when the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image of himself to have all men to bow down worship it, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as Hebrew men refused to bow down. Their refusal to the king’s request was not of one of defiance to him as being king. However, their refusal was out of their conviction that they should not bow down and worship any man or false gods but only worship Jehovah God. In Exodus 20:3-5 the word of God declared that we as His people “should not bow down and worship in false gods or graven images because the Lord our God is a Jealous God”. As the result of the Hebrew boys standing on their convictions not to bow down and worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar, they were thrown in the fire which was made seven times hotter and which killed those who threw them in the fire. However, the men bands which bound the three men were burned and they all stood in the fire with the fourth man which was the Lord Himself. As the world and circumstances throw us into our fiery furnace our conviction that we will serve the Lord and no one else will be a witness to the world that we serve the one true God. Yes, the heat of the fire has been turned up seven times higher, however, because the presence of the Lord is with us in the fire we will come out on the other side being fireproof.