As the Waters Rise, Fear Not


Well, I had prepared this yesterday morning while sitting at my kitchen table watching the water rise and praying our dike would hold. Now, having been evacuated, and expecting our home to be essentially destroyed, I’m at my office at Bethel, thinking of you and reflecting on God’s outstretched hand. Just so you know and because people keep asking, I am very proud to be here in the Fargo/Moorhead and more convinced each day of God’s call to Bethel.

As I am sitting here, I’m reminded of the Master’s encouragement through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 43:1-3 says, “But now says the LORD, he who created you . . . he who formed you . . . fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God . . . your Savior”

What a promise! When you pass through the waters . . . and the rivers . . . I will be with you!

Friends, don’t forget that. This is no doubt a rough season, indeed, even frightening. Some of us may lose material things and perhaps all of us will find a thread of vulnerability now sewn into our once secure life-fabrics, but we must not forget that our God is with us. He will never ever fail us, nor forsake us, no matter how high the water rises.

God bless you, friends. And don’t forget that the One who loves you most is Jesus.


  1. Tracy @ my cup runneth over says:

    Pastor Matt,
    I found your site via LauraLee’s. I was so moved by the photos she has shared of the people of Fargo. I’ve never experienced a tragedy of such proportion so I can’t fully grasp the enormity of what you, your family and others in your area are going through at this time. I would like to assure you of my prayers, both now and every time the Lord brings you to mind.

    Heartfelt prayers,

  2. elaine @ peace for the journey says:

    Pastor Matt and family:
    Over here from Lauralee’s blog. As I watched the video she posted, my eyes welled with pain and tears as I well remember being escorted from my front lawn in a boat in 1999. The aftermath of Hurricane Floyd swallowed our town. Our parsonage was spared…one of the few in our small community. This would set off a long season of rebuilding efforts in our community. It was a hard time for all of us; but…God…

    and His strength and providence and grace to carry us through. He did and the work that He placed in our hands during that time has been some of the most fruit-bearing, life-giving ministry we’ve done as a clergy family. Please know that you have our prayers and thoughts. We understand, in part, of the enormnity of what you’re feeling. Prayers heading your way this day and in the days to come.


  3. Joanne Sher says:

    I am an online friend of Laura’s, and her post so moved me that I came her to encourage you. Know that I am praying for you and your community, and am so glad that the Lord is your comfort.

  4. LauraLee Shaw says:

    Matthew & Christa…Emily & Katie,

    We are praying for you. I wrote a tribute to you and your incredible community on my blog. I’ve been amazed at the strength and unity of the people of Fargo and surrounding. You all encourage me, inspire me and strengthen me in my own faith. I’ve no doubt that the Lord has taken you to Fargo for such a time as this.

    Love you so,
    Brian, Laura, Austin, AnaLee & Allison

    PS. Here’s my link if you’re interested:

  5. Nathan Solseth says:

    Thank you, Pastor Matthew, for sharing this in the midst of the chaos in your life. Allison and I will keep your family, and all of the good people of the Fargo-Moorhead area in our prayers.

  6. Tom says:

    Pastor, please know you have the prayers of myself and my family during this time. God will strengthen you, guide you and carry you through this time of great trial.

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