What endures…

I would be lying if I tried to say my heart doesn’t hurt for the people impacted by the storm the last few days.   I am especially drawn to the people of the NYC area because of having the chance this past summer to serve there with a team of young adult missionaries.  Each picture, news article, and personal report from people suffering, draws me closer to this city and increases my desire to get back there as soon as it is possible to help the people impacted by this storm.  One picture this morning especially caught my heart.  The picture itself doesn’t look that bad; however, the caption left me speechless.

“Multiple trees down in Van Cortlandt Park as well as around Manhattan college. Construction at apartment building disturbed as well.”

I walked past those apartments just a few months ago.  And those trees down in that park… our team planted some of them this past June.
Now, I understand these are just trees and I really am just thanking God that the death toll wasn’t higher than it is and am praying for those who lost so much.  However, those trees bring even more meaning and even some comfort because of something we talked about the night after we planted those trees while on our trip:
As we debriefed the day, we were talking about what a great feeling it was to know we were doing something that could possible last hundreds of years… to be making a long-term impact.  But then, God took us one step farther, and for that, I am so grateful, especially since those trees likely didn’t even make one year.  Our discussion that night in NYC continued around Isaiah 40:8 which says:
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever.
The trees may fall.  God remains.
Or how about his one from a few chapters later:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters; I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God… you are precious and honored in my sight and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1-4)
What a beautiful reminder in the midst of the tragedy and destruction!  In the midst of change and trial and destruction, God remains. And He love us.  In a time that would be easy to ask “WHY?!?” we can instead turn and lean on the One who is always there… who see each of His children as precious and honored… the One who is our great Protector and Provider.
And as we cry out, “Lord, have mercy!”  We know He hears and answers because His Word says so, and His Word stands forever!
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