By Lou Coleman
This is a different article from the norm of a mission project update. It’s an article as I struggle with the unease and sadness and grief about what I encountered in Ghana Africa as I represented the Brother’s Keeper Mission Project recently. Upon arriving in Ghana I was taken to the aftermath of a great flood that happened two days prior to my arrival. A city destroyed. Homes washed away. Roads covered. Buildings inundated. Communities and villages flooded. The smell of death in the air. The circumstances were so overwhelming as to be mind-boggling. The pictures shown are some of the destruction from the Flood.
As I witnessed some of the destruction, I began in my thoughts about Israel of old and how they experienced natural disasters as judgment because of sin. Filled with emotion, I remember reading Psalm 29 verse 10 that said… “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood…” Then as I continued reading verse 11 it said, this same Lord, “May He, give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.” It seemed, at first, odd that they sought peace from the same God they ascribe such awesome and terrible power. But I was also reminded of God’s grace and awesome power which was proclaimed in the ancient story of Noah and the flood and what Israel noted over and over, that there was destruction and wind and storm and uncertainty in this world, but God is still God, and God is not in the wind, nor is He in the earthquake, nor the fire, storm, or even the flood, but mostly in the hope and the hearts of those who can discern His persistent, still, small voice in the background beneath and above and beyond the chaos. As I tried to think about a flood of that magnitude, one question kept floating to the surface. Why would God do such a thing?
In order to answer that question, the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39 to his disciples on the Mount of Olives before he was crucified drew a fascinating comparison with the days of Noah. He tells his disciples that the past is the key to the future. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. They were buying and selling and continuing in all the usual activities of human life. Business as usual. Children went to school each day, businessmen made deals, teachers taught, doctors dispensed healing, and farmers tended their crops. They paid no attention to Noah as he warned them of impending judgment; they paid him no mind whatsoever until the day that Noah entered the ark. Study the days of Noah because what happened in those days will happen again at the end of this age. The spiritual conditions of the pre-flood world will be replicated in the days preceding the return of Christ to the earth. One translation said, “They did not know.” What a damning indictment. It was an age of enlightenment. But they did not know. It was an age of great progress. But they did not know. It was an age of music, fine arts and literature. But they did not know. It was an age of military might. But they did not know. It was an age when mighty men roamed the earth. But they did not know. They knew so much but understood so little. They knew more and more about less and less until they knew everything about nothing and nothing about what really mattered. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They had no time for God until it was too late. That is the world of Noah’s day. They were wise fools who did not heed the warnings of the preacher of righteousness. Then the flood came and took them all away. Genesis 6:1-8 offers the Bible’s most detailed answer to the question, “Why did God send the flood?” There was a rapid spiritual degeneration after the first sin. Once sin entered the human bloodstream, it quickly spread until it dominated humanity. But now, with the passing of a few generations, the entire world has become a cesspool of sin. Things have become so evil that God decided to start all over again. Lord have mercy on our soul! For those that have ears, hear what the Spirit is saying.
The Bible speaks directly then and now to our struggle for meaning in the face of chaos. It speaks to our conflicted hope and trust in God, God within and somehow behind this world of uncertainty and violence, and yes, even death. Could it be that the God of all creation allows such things to happen to remind us that He created us to be our brother’s keeper? For when disaster strikes people come together for a reason. When there is a disaster neighbors begin to talk with each other. The poor widow living across the street becomes important. We begin to touch base with each other seeing if the other person is okay. Now my question is this, why does it take a disaster to bring people together? When disaster happens a community comes together and all of a sudden lives are important. I think it is so awesome and great when we help each other, but this shouldn’t be only because of a disaster. We shouldn’t wait for a disaster to become friendly. Thousands of people survived the flood because neighbors or complete strangers reached out to those in need. They became their brothers’ keepers. And that purposefulness and connectedness brings joy even amidst death, chaos, fear and loss. Don’t wait for your neighbor’s house to be destroyed or a death happens before being neighborly to them. All who claim Christ, we are being called to this opportunity to serve and reveal our faith. Opportunity request personal responsibility and urgency in action. When the question is raised, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I hope that the spirit wells up within you and says, “You bet I am!
The good news – In the midst of such devastation I want you to know that what the Brother’s Keeper Mission Project set out to do was accomplished. Praises go to the Most High God! Special thanks to Am I My Brother’s Keeper… Yes I Am – Conduit of Grace Church/Pastor Martin & Dora Lucero; 2 God Be All the Glory Inc. / Dr. Bruce & Carla McMorris; God’s Promise Church/Pastor Robert & Gwen Phillips; Church of the Living God, Temple 208/Bishop Ernest & LaShawn Dowdy; The Beautiful Gate Church Worldwide, Ghana Africa/ Pastor Richard Yeboah; MDISNET/ Reginald Young; Oliver Lambert Realty; Westside Story Newspaper; The San Bernardino American News; Universal Property Solution; Universal Transport Group; Krystal Louie and Deacon & Missionary Warren & Ruthie Roberson. May God continue to bestow His blessings upon you!