May 23, 2013
This post linked to Sunday Snippets.
My husband and I have been following the tornado disaster and its aftermath in Moore, Oklahoma, since spotters first called it on Tuesday. We were glued to the television in horrified fascination as image after image swept by. I could only pray, “Lord, have mercy on all those people.”
Just two years ago, a similar tornado cut a swath through Joplin, Missouri, a town about an hour away from us, killing 161 people. Although the death toll in Moore is currently said to be 24, the 17 miles of debris and flattened city blocks left behind is well beyond that of Joplin’s weather rampage.
Living in the Midwest we are used to tornados being called, especially in the spring and early summer, but we will never get used to the loss of life and destruction. Every time the local sirens go off, I pray that angels will surround us and protect our tiny home from the worst, and that we will be safe. We have no storm cellar but we can take Francie and hide just below ground level under the work bench in the garage if worst came to worst. Lately a good neighbor has invited us to take shelter in her basement – and bring the dog!
Even though natural disasters are the permissive will of God, He never abandons man when they happen. Our hearts go out to those who lost family – children, parents, grandparents in this latest storm. Nobody but those suffering and those who have suffered a similar loss can know what it feels like. Nobody but those who in a matter of minutes went from counting on a comfortable home, food in the pantry, pets, cars, etc. to nothing but a concrete slab knows what it feels like. Yet the most important thing is what people do in these situations. That’s where we see God with us.
I noticed that after both tornados ordinary people stepped up to help one another. In Moore, Christian groups shot into action with organization that would be the envy of any business corporation. I heard a reporter say that 27 local churches of various denominations banded together immediately to help victims. He called it “Christian FEMA” and said the wait for government FEMA was going to be a lot longer so people shouldn’t depend on it. That he said such a thing really surprised me. God was visibly present in the church volunteers and in the words of the reporter.
A teacher who rode out the storm in a school restroom with a group of kids said one child was crying and begged her not to let her die. The teacher told the reporter she told the child that nobody was going to die, and then she did something “I probably shouldn’t have done as a teacher. I prayed out loud to God…” She and all the children with her survived safely.
How sad that this teacher felt guilt for praying! She knew Who was in charge, though, and in a moment of courage as well as desperation she gave the right example to the kids. Who knows but what her prayer saved all of them. Yes, God was present there, too.
A CNN reporter asked a man who had lost everything what he was going to do now. The man answered, “Pray.”
When a reporter told Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin that all America was pulling for the state, she said, “Thank you for your prayers.”
Hearing so many statements like this really lifted my heart. In the midst of the loss in both Joplin and Moore, God was foremost in so many people’s minds that national news couldn’t keep Him out of the picture. He was everywhere in the hands and feet of volunteers who didn’t hesitate to help the stricken. Ordinary people and government officials witnessed to His supremacy in their simple words.
I am very grateful to live in a part of the country where many people don’t hesitate to show belief in Him even if it takes a disaster to open the mouths of some. Sometimes I wonder if one of the goods that God brings out of the evils of disasters isn’t the acknowledgement that He exists and we need to be paying a lot more attention to Him.
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