“Where did the valley end?” Kary asked her father as they stood on the weather-beaten ridge overlooking the lake.
He pointed into the distance, “All the way over there.” He sighed.
“And its all under water now?” she asked.
He nodded and swallowed back tears. He’d been doing that a lot lately.
They stood in silence for a while, watching as the sun drew closer to the far horizon, enjoying the unusual break in the storm.
“I’ve been remembering it.” She said eventually and he seemed startled by the sound of her voice.
“What? The valley?”
“No. The day the water came.” She took a short breath and turned to her father, “Please tell me about it again.”
He looked at her with weary eyes, “Not today.” He said weakly and walked off down the path towards the shelters, “Be home before sunset, okay?” he said but did not look back to see if she had heard.
That flood had been one of the first disasters to hit their coast twenty years ago. The first of many. Global warming had turned the weather into a ferocious and unpredictable animal that ravaged the earth in a matter of years. Icy, wet storms were broken by blistering summer days – the effects were catastrophic.
People like Kary and her family, who did not have access to the veritable underground paradise of those with money, were driven to find shelter wherever they could.
It was a hard life, scavenging for food and being held up in the crowded storm shelters for long periods of time but despite the chaos Kary had found something that held her above it all. She had found God.
The Believers met every Sunday in the main storm shelter regardless of the weather and rocked the cliffs with their praise. Some people, like Kary’s father, simply couldn’t understand what they would have to be so thankful for but Kary knew. All the devastation was only a precursor to the great awaited day when their Saviour would come again. She had learnt that the groaning planet she lived on was only a temporary home, one she didn’t really belong to anyway.
She turned her back on the lake and made her way to the ramshackle shelters she called home. In the morning, depending on the weather, she would be travelling with some of the other Believers to a near-by shelter-village to help with repairs but also to share the hope they’d found in God. She was so excited to be able to continue the work of the apostles in the bible, even though her world was so broken.
Her father sat at the entrance to their shelter, eyes locked into some distant memory.
“You can always come with us tomorrow father.” She said, sitting down next to him hoping to break through the wall he had seemed to build around himself over the past few months. She knew he was worried about her travelling.
He narrowed his eyes, “There are storms coming.” he said, so softly that she barely heard him and then got up and went inside.
She had noticed the gathering clouds to the north, they hung in purple swirling masses in the distance and promised a violent thrashing but it would pass as it always did. She had learnt to see something else in the storms, to see the magnificence of God’s power in the midst of it. If only her father could see it too.
She stood at the entrance of the shelter and watched her father run his hands over some of the things he had found that had washed up from the valley.
“That time is over father.” She said gently, stepping into the cold musty air of the room.
He said nothing at first, only looked up at her with a tear-streaked face. She reached out for him and he took her hand and pressed his cheek against it.
“I am so tired of living without hope.” He sobbed, “This place, the weather, this room, they’re all killing me and yet you wake up singing the praises of your God no matter how violent the storm.” His eyes searched her desperately, “How?”
Kary knelt down beside her father and wrapped her arms around him as he sobbed. He felt the breath of her voice as she prayed quietly for him, praising God that in the midst of the tragedy of life her father would find the God of her hope.
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