Inconveniences are actually opportunities in disguise.
Such was the case this past Saturday night into most of the day Sunday.
Ankeny, the city where I live, received 10 inches of rain in just 3 hours on Saturday evening. Talk about a deluge. In fact, a friend of mine noted that, in terms of inches per hour, Ankeny’s downpour was greater than the town of Alvin, TX, the current holder of the heaviest rainfall in the US in a 24-hour period: 43 inches.
City competition aside, many residents in our city and members of the church I pastor had to deal with, at the very least, flooded basements. Most had inches. Some had feet. All had unwanted water. Lights were on in homes in every quadrant of Ankeny well past midnight indicating late-night furniture moving, carpet tear out, shop vacing, sump pump repair or replacement, as well as old-fashioned bailing with buckets.
And it continued into Sunday. You knew many more than first imagined were affected by the sheer fact that mounds of carpet padding, piles of wet carpet, and stacks of tubs, crates, and boxes were in driveways or along the street, either drying out or being disposed of. What happened in 3 hours will take far more than even 3 days to deal with.
Yet, what I found so joyfully amazing throughout the day Sunday was the way so many of God’s people turned this inconvenience (and many would find that to be an understatement) into an opportunity. All day long today I was hearing story after story of people “letting their light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God was pouring out opportunity in the form of rain.
- A single mom with 3 feet of water in her basement was pleasantly bombarded with the baseball team from our local Christian school. They were there to make sure she had some help. And help they did! Way to hit a home run, boys!
- A young couple new to town and only two weeks into their home was surprised by neighbors who brought food, towels, and an assurance that Iowa is still the #1 place to live in the nation. Now that’s a welcome wagon when it’s really needed!
- A family who was fortunate enough to stay dry opened their home to young families with kids who were temporarily without a place to stay and play. A welcome neighborhood playplace!
- Some insightful moms “rescued” a mom of six whose laundry room was unusable. Each took several loads and promised to have the clothes back in time for school. Talk about customer service!
- One empty-nester couple put together a few grocery bags of snacks and food for families with children they knew were short on time to cook. Meals on Wheels even on the weekends!
- Small groups were converging on the high-need situations with their circle of relationships, bringing manpower and horsepower to remedy many of the problems associated with water damage.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I watched, heard about, and participated in numerous “We’re-here-to-help” moments that, like it or not, were generated by a sudden inconvenience. But to those with eyes for what’s most important, a sudden inconvenience is a golden opportunity to showcase exactly that—what’s most important.
And what’s most important? No, not a dry basement. Not new carpet. Not a sump pump that works. It’s not that those are unimportant, but they’re surely not most important.
What’s most important is God’s glory even in the fallout of a historic, 3-hour rainfall. That in the simple actions of good works, God’s weightiness can be seen. Heard. Felt. Noticed.
That through the rain, after the rain, because of the rain…they would see he reigns.