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Higher Ground

 

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Today’s post comes from the final portion of Hearts across the Water.  If you’ve been following our blog, we’re looking at stories from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

These two 2005 storms did more than change the landscape of southern Louisiana.

It brought about seismic changes that are still echoing across this part of America.

 

Remember.

Enjoy.

Be Grateful for a hurricane-free 2015.

Download a free copy of Hearts across the Water at www.creekbank.net

Higher Ground

 

 

I’m pressing on the upward way

New heights I’m gaining everyday.

Still praying as I onward bound,

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

–”Higher Ground”

Charles H. Gabriel (copyright 1926)

 

The analogy of flooding is found throughout this book—the angry waves of the tsunami drowning entire communities; the slow flooding of New Orleans as the 17th street levee is breached.

The sad pictures of what was once the Cameron Parish hamlet of Holly Beach now completely gone, washed away by the storm surge.

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In each of these areas, the homes in the lowlands suffered the worst. Higher ground was the place to get to.

As I’ve watched those affected by each of these floods, I’ve noticed something. Those who made it through really reached higher ground. I’m not talking about higher ground in the above sea level term. I’m referring to a spiritual place. A spiritual higher ground that the hymn writer speaks of in the verse quoted above. Especially in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita I’ve seen it. People who have been through the flood, many of them losing most if not all of their material possessions… having every reason to despair. But I’ve observed a light in their eyes. A joyful peace that cannot be measured in transient happiness, lack of mold, or a FEMA check for $2000.

In spite of the great loss, they’ve become better instead of bitter. It is a peace that comes from inside, from in the heart where the mold cannot grow.

 

And the water cannot flood,

And the hurricane-force winds cannot reach.

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It comes from a personal relationship with God. Jesus’ promise in Revelation 3:20 still holds, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him…”

It’s an open invitation. An invitation to step up onto higher ground. The wonderful higher ground of peace and the very presence of God.

On this higher ground there will still be storms. Following Jesus is no insurance policy against storms. Just ask those disciples who followed him out onto the Sea of Galilee:

“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’

“But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” (Matt 8:23–27)

Following Jesus led them straight into a storm. But the swells and waves of the Sea of Galilee were still higher ground—because Jesus was there.

That is His promise…not the absence of storms, but His faithfulness to stand with you in the storm.

 

That’s all of the higher ground I need.

Simply to be with Him.

Higher ground.

It’s a good place to be.

Anytime, but especially in the storm.

 

My heart has no desire to stay

Where doubts arise and fears dismay

Though some may dwell where those abound.

My prayer, my aim is higher ground.

 

Lord, plant my feet and make me stand

By faith on Heaven’s tableland.

A higher plane than I have found,

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

 

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About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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