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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

What’s in the water?

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There was a hesitation in writing this article at this time. When people in Texas, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, India, the Caribbean Islands and other places unbeknownst to us are dealing with the aftermath of water-related disasters, I wrestled with writing an article about water. I wrestled with the sensitivity of the subject matter, especially when water has done more harm than good for hundreds of thousands of people in recent weeks.

However, there’s a beautiful irony in the midst of it all. While the waters of hurricanes, torrential rain, flooding and mudslides have displaced thousands from their homes, their memories and their livelihoods, another shift is taking place. It’s not a temporary, “here today, gone tomorrow” occasion. It’s not a “five minutes of fame” scenario. And I don’t believe it’s only for the sake of recent events. I believe this shift can be one that sincerely changes the hearts and minds of people. I believe it can change the way we think about ourselves, resulting in the way we think about and relate to others. The water-related disasters have caused us to be mindful of the fact that life can drastically change in a matter of moments. They have reminded us that such a shift has been long overdue.

This shift is one of humanity. It’s a shift that is bringing people together to help one another, regardless of culture, creed, economic status or orientation of any kind. It’s a transition in mentality, in emotion, in our everyday dealings with life and the people who make it what it is. And it’s so very necessary. We’re well beyond the days of looking out for self only, especially in these days and times. Whether we want to admit it or not, we need each other. There is indeed no one who can make it in this life alone. No one. The troubled waters have been an intense reminder of this fact. My prayer is that we are paying attention, so much so that we take action. All our actions won’t be the same. Some will give of their time and efforts through volunteering. Others will give their financial resources for tangible support and provision. Some will use their human resources for networking purposes. Others will give through their spiritual work of prayer, fasting, etc. for those affected. 

These water-related disasters have wreaked havoc that won’t be a quick fix to resolve. Still, there is hope in the shift. Among tears of grief and furrowed brows of despair, amidst aches for what was and questions of curiosity in what will be, there is hope in the shift. Isaiah 54:10 says: “’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

The last three components of that verse is where the shift is represented at its finest. Every second of time, every donated dollar, every phone call made or email sent, every prayer and all labor in spiritual work is proof that God’s unfailing love is unshaken, that God’s covenant of peace is unmovable and God’s compassion and lovingkindness is still with and for us. That’s what’s in the water. But let us not stop there. Let us not just operate in this shift when disaster takes place, but let it be that this shift be our new and perpetual way of doing and being in the world.


Rae Karim is an Indianapolis pastor who serves as chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary. She can be reached at rkarim@cts.edu.

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