Updated: Apr 10
I write with a heavy heart knowing so many in our community are wondering what will happen. It's a tense and anxious time for our Cedar Rapids community. It looks like the Cedar River crested at 21.97 feet, which is the second highest in history. Questions are swirling. Will the sandbags hold? Will my house be ruined? What will I do if my house has flood damage? How could God allow this happen again!?
It is quite perplexing that a flood of this magnitude could happen twice in the same 10 year span. I was not yet a member of this INCREDIBLE Cedar Rapids community in 2008 when the Cedar River crested to its highest level in history of 31.12 feet. In 2008, 14% of the city was impacted by floodwaters. An estimated 18,000 people lived in the flood-impacted area and 10,000 of those were displaced by the flood. But, the stat we don't lift up enough is that there were zero flood-related deaths. Zero!
Often times in natural disasters like floods and hurricanes, the poor get left behind. The unknown, unnamed and unclaimed often end up as casualties because no one cares to tell them. No one cares to help them. It's a sad true reality of natural disasters.
Which is why that stat of "0" matters! That stat isn't a stat. It's a life. And Cedar Rapids has shown again and again that every life matters. That every person matters! Yes, we take care of our family and property; however, we also help and reach out to make sure our neighbor is OK. There is no such thing as not being good enough to be helped in this town. It happened in 2008 and I see it happening again in 2016.
It was absolutely incredible to see how many people came out to sandbag. Young and old came together to prepare this city for flooding. People took off work. People worked day and night. City workers went door-to-door to make sure everyone was warned and informed what was happening.
I pray in this 2016 flood, we have zero flood-related deaths. Unfortunately, death does and could happen. But, I pray we, as a city, and we, as a church community, continue to strive with that mentality of ZERO. That "O" people are overlooked. That "O" people are neglected. That ALL people are worthy of God's love and God's care.
I know God has been a part of the preparations and will continue to be a part of our relief, rehabilitation and recovery efforts. God is working in Cedar Rapids. That I promise you! He is working through the first responders. He is working through volunteers. He is working through churches. He is working through you.
You are the Church! Continue being the Church! Continue striving for ZERO.
Thank you for all you do in the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus!