Introduction: The events of Hurricane Katrina remind me of a story that I must share with you. Not only “could it” happen in St Louis; but few people are aware that it “almost did” happen in 1993. The following story is true. BUT, as you will see at the end of this story, our God is much bigger than St Louis, New Orleans, or our entire world!
And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. (Gen 9:11-13)
The Mississippi Flood of 1993: It was the spring of 1993. I was sent to Collinsville, IL to train IDOT (Illinois Dept of Trans) how to use the equipment they just purchased. Collinsville is directly across the river from St. Louis, MO. The area was under siege by one of the worst floods in U.S. history! Over $10 billion of damage occurred. Tens of thousands of people became homeless in a few short days. The city of St. Louis was about to be removed from the map. (But I didn’t know that yet.) The Mississippi had flooded her banks and swamped hundreds of square miles. The river was so high that the river boats were all trapped. They couldn’t move up the river, and they couldn’t move down. They were trapped by all the bridges that were now only a few feet from the water level! They were tied to anything they could find. If one large barge were to break loose, who knows how many bridges it would destroy!
The trip was one of my most interesting. The people at IDOT were super people and I enjoyed working with them. In the evenings, I would play tourist and go for little drives to see the flooding. Across the river lived an old friend and customer by the name of Paul, the owner of a local civil engineering firm.
An Old Friend: Paul and I had gotten to know each other years earlier on a similar training mission when his company purchased our equipment. Naturally, I wanted to touch base with him while I was in town. I called him the first day after I arrived. He was definitely interested in getting together but was extremely vague about when. That was strange. Paul is a hard charging man who is never vague about anything! So I called him again the next day. We still couldn’t get a date established. He had an “extremely critical job” that he just had to check on each and every evening. This continued the entire week. “Paul,” I thought, “You’re taking your work too seriously.” Finally, Paul said, “Well, let’s get together this evening, but, do you mind if we run out to the job site?” Naturally I eagerly agreed. (Little did I know what I was getting myself into!)
The Job Site: We rendezvoused at the designated restaurant, had dinner, caught up on a few years of old family and corporate news, talked about how silly it is for so many people to build in the flood plains of the Mississippi River, and then went to the job site. The “job site” was a dike along the west bank of the Mississippi river. The purpose of the dike: protect the city from the raging river! Anytime the Mississippi threatened the city, the doors to the dike could be closed and the city could be protected like a giant citadel. The problem with the dike: it was about to collapse!!! We drove up to the dike. It was an awesome thought, looking up at this dike about 30′ tall knowing that the river was now about 20′ up over my head. This alone would give pause. But today was different.
As we parked the car, the first thing I noticed was that the street was flooded with water pouring in from UNDER the dike. The second thing I noticed was that one section of the dike was already significantly leaning in MY direction! I was shocked that the water was only trickling through the seam of these two sections. I thought this seam should have been gushing worse than the water coming under it. “Let’s walk over to check on the men,” Paul said. “May I stay in the car?” I thought. But, I can’t say that. “Sure. I’d be happy to.” I responded. (I have since asked God to forgive me for that lie.)
The situation was desperate. If that section of the dike collapsed, the city of St. Louis along with many thousands of people would be destroyed. It didn’t take a geotechnical engineer to know that this dike section (and St. Louis) were in trouble. This was a graphic example of, If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? Prov 11:3. Paul’s job, like the little Dutch boy, was to hold his finger in the proverbial “hole in the dike” until it could be fixed more permanently. His finger would be much too small, so his plan was to pump cement grout into the failing portion of the foundation. Naturally, the force of the water flowing under the dike was going to push the grout on through. The key to success was to pump the grout in faster than it could be washed out.
The third thing I noticed was a silly contraption sitting on top of the dike. “What’s that!” I thought. But Paul was already explaining. His men had a drill rig up on this contraption. The drill rig was used as a grout pumping station. The drill rods were used to strategically place the grout in the right location. “But what’s the contraption?” I thought. The shape made sense, but it was severely out of context. “It’s a river barge,” Paul explained. A river barge? Sitting on top of the dike?!? You must be kidding. “Paul, why do you have a river barge sitting on TOP of the dike?” I asked. “Simple,” he responded. “It makes a good sturdy platform, and if that dike lets go, I want my men to be safe. If they were sitting on a fixed platform, they’d drown for sure. Hopefully, being on the barge, they can ride it out. The men are my primary concern!”
St Louis is Saved From Devastation: Well, that’s my story for this month. This flood was over 12 years ago and, if you have looked at a map recently, you will notice that Paul’s plan worked. St. Louis is still there. Only a small fraction of the population of St. Louis knows the criticality and desperation of those few days.
Evidence of Noah’s Flood! The next day, my last day in Collinsville, I took one more drive. “Amazing!” I thought, still pondering the evening at the dike as I played tourist and viewed more of the flood. Then, suddenly, I was as awestruck as I have ever been! I was driving up the East side of the river when I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my right eye. I had to stop. I got out of the car and stared to the East. Off in the distance, a mile or more away, were bluffs over a hundred feet tall! “What do you think caused those bluffs,” I thought. If this is the worst flood in history, and it’s nothing compared to the flood that carved those bluffs, these people are in serious trouble! This rain is just a summer sprinkle compared to the rain that carved that bluff!!! Unless, And I will establish my covenant with you; …neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth, unless, these bluffs were carved by Noah’s Flood!
This brings us to the issue of “beliefs.” I doubt that many people have truly given those bluffs much thought, but, those bluffs can only be reconciled by one of two “beliefs.” Either they were carved by Noah’s flood, in which case the millions of people in the area are all safe to live there. OR, these bluffs were caused by just another ordinary previous flood, in which case, they are all crazy to live anywhere near there. “But, then,” I thought, “If that’s the case, NO place in the world is safe!”
Fortunately, I do not maintain the belief that this bluff was caused by just an ordinary previous flood. It is probably one more small piece of scientific evidence that the Word of God is true from cover to cover! You already knew that, of course. The Bible doesn’t need “scientific evidence.” It stands on God’s Word.
True Science and God’s True Word must agree.
Otherwise, one of the two must be false!