” . . . blessings overflow . . . ”
“His blessings overflow like the Nile, enriching the world in a fertile flood.” (Sirach 39:22)
Last week Patti and I were walking on a path that recently had been flooded by the Kanawha River.  The sidewalk had been cleared but on the side of the path close to the river the mud remained that had been deposited by the receding floodwaters.  Walking beside it caused a flood of memories for me.  When I grew up in southern West Virginia, every March our community was flooded by the mighty Tug River.  When the waters returned to their banks I remember seeing yards, sidewalks, streets, and even our church filled with thick, cracked, bricks of mud like the ones I was seeing on our recent walk.  The flooding in our community always carried along with the muddy waters heartache and misery.  Homes and precious keepsakes saturated with memories were often lost.  The drying mud sparked my wondering . . .
At this later stage of my ministry it seems like it’s almost been countless times that I’ve walked with folks through some part of their life journeys where the flood waters of disaster and despair have overwhelmed them.  At first it’s only the destruction of the disaster that consumes their attention.  For awhile after their river of tears subside, all they can see is the thick, cracking layer of mud that covers their life.  I’ve been there, have you?  Gradually, with time, something pretty surprising and miraculous can happen – life happens where it was never expected to return.
As a school child I was a history nut, and remember studying the ancient Egyptian culture and its dependence on the annual flooding of the Nile River.  After each flooding the Egyptians were left with the rich gift of new, fertile soil for farming.  Their lives depended upon the annual flood.  The writer of Sirach was referencing that when he said of God, “His blessings overflow like the Nile, enriching the world in a fertile flood.”  It would be harsh and hurtful to tell a person in the midst of a crisis that they would be enriched by the experience of pain and suffering.  However, I must testify to the fact that I have been enriched by both the joy and the suffering of life.  For those we accompany through the drying mud of their crises, it’s important for us to somehow hold the hope of new life springing forth until they can acknowledge and live it for themselves.  
Jesus walked the path of our pain and suffering with the knowledge of God’s indestructible love.  I don’t profess to understand it all, but somehow Christ’s journey from death to resurrection, from darkness to light, from despair to hope, enriches suffering and brings new life.  This is not what I think, it’s what I know, and what I offer – the indestructible, enriching love of God in Christ.  I pray that God will continue to help me offer Christ.  How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on April 1, 2015.

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