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This Life: When disaster strikes

SAMANTHA ELLEY reflects on the floods that changed her life – and that of many others – in Australia’s Northern Rivers region two years ago…

Northern Rivers, News South Wales, Australia

Floods in the city of Lismore in northern New South Wales, Australia. PICTURE: Cloudcatcher Media/Shutterstock

“For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.” – Psalm 92:4

The second anniversary of the February, 2022, floods is upon us and I know it will be a time for our small community to take stock of what has happened and how we have recovered in the past 24 months.

While many homes are still empty and many people are still living in the temporary pod villages or caravans as they have no other alternative, there have been some positive outcomes.

“We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t asked God many times through the past two years: Why did you let this happen?”

Many homes have had a renovation makeover (ours is still ongoing), others have sold their homes and started new lives in different communities and many businesses have gotten back on their feet, while others have also been newly established.

We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t asked God many times through the past two years: Why did you let this happen?

In my capacity as a journalist, I asked the Bishop of Lismore why God would allow a flood to destroy so many homes and businesses and his answer gave me a lot of food for thought.

He said that sometimes, while on the surface an event may seem like a disaster, it may be what is needed to spur people to act.

Whether it is for them to get on with a new life, to reach out to those in need, or to humbly accept the help offered.

When it comes down to it, what you lose are just possessions. Sometimes what you gain is experience, friendships and an understanding that you are not alone.

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We had so many people act for us, whether it be cleaning out our mud-filled home and possessions, provide accommodation and emotional support, donate items and money, the list goes on.

So we lost many possessions that were dear to us, but we gained so much in return.

As strange as it sounds, I can honestly say I am in a position to be glad that God allowed the flood to come.

And I can sing for joy at what his hands have done, because so much good has come from such a tragic situation.

There is great comfort in knowing we can trust our Father in Heaven, that he is working for our best, which is helping us to become more like His Son Jesus in our actions, attitude and spirit.


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