A Storm Became Personal
Written by Wayne Roper
Just three months ago we were watching the news reports of the devastating damage done by the tornadoes in Oklahoma and surrounding states. So many people lost their homes and the personal stuff of their life, much of which will never be replaced. Some families lost loved ones and/or friends as several people died, including seven children at the school in Moore, Oklahoma. Most of us find it hard to understand just how we would handle such a tragic moment of loss.
So often the questions are asked, where is God in all this? And why would God allow such a thing to occur? Really we don’t have an answer to these questions, and most all of us have asked it at some point in life. We can, however, find a sense of comfort and be reminded from God’s Word that we cannot understand fully the mind of God. We can know from I Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV),
“Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
Deep inside me I realize that while we can’t really know why, God seems to always take a tragedy and does a work of drawing people to Himself. God has a purpose even in the uncertainty of loss and pain.
I had the opportunity to join the Billy Graham Rapid Response Chaplain team working alongside the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief teams who did and have done a great job of providing helping hands with clean-up such as cutting trees, cleaning yards of debris, putting tarps on damaged roofs, working to sift through the mounds of debris hoping to salvage personal items. As all the hands-on work continued, our job as chaplains was to provide a ministry of presence to those in shock by trying to make sense of what they were facing through listening and sharing the Love of Jesus in the midst of fear and pain.
On Friday storms started brewing in the afternoon, and by early evening we found ourselves under a tornado warning. Team leaders told us what and how we were to respond to a warning if it were to happen. Keep in mind we had a rather large group of volunteers and workers. Some 65 to 70 people were loading into trucks, vans and cars to make a run for a shelter facility large enough to hold our group. A designated school was our destination a couple miles away. As we traveled, I had the car radio on and listened to the news reports and weather updates in Oklahoma City. The storm was headed our way, and the scene in the sky confirmed it. Our caravan of vehicles pulled into the parking lot of the school. We would now gather and wait for the storm to arrive. One small problem…as we unloaded from our vehicles, we saw the sign on the door, “Shelter Closed”. And, the doors were locked!
As we retreated back to our vehicles, I was sure this was nothing to worry about. Surely we had another location waiting? We did. However, the caravan of vehicles was now traveling more into this black and gray monster, with lightening shooting out and large rain drops beginning to fall. The radio warning was telling everyone in the path of the storm to take underground shelter immediately!
After waiting out the storm in the shelter, we exited to discover three light poles in front of the shelter had snapped off as the storm came over us adding to the realness of the power of a tornado. We thank God for His protection!
So to where do we seek shelter from the storms of our life? So many times we have plans in place and seemingly have our lives in control to find the place of safety we pursue is actually no place of safety at all. If you’re facing a storm in your life today, go to His hiding place and find shelter from the storms that rage against you.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ~Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV84)
Seek Him as your shelter and refuge today. He loves and cares for you!