My mind ponders the meaning of that word as devastation and destruction surround me.  Seeing pictures is one thing.  Watching it on television is another.  Having to drive past the chaos left by a tornado every day?  There's no way to prepare yourself for that.

I don't know the path it took.  I don't know where it hit first.  All I know is that when I left Salyersville, the entire town was perfectly fine.  And when I returned, random sections were left in ruins.  Homes and businesses have been demolished, material possessions and memories are scattered across hillsides, and lives have been changed because of this unfortunate incident.

The tornado left it's mark, and the signature was undeniable.

Trees lay everywhere, either broken by the storm or laying down in the direction that the tornado swept them.  It's an eerie sight to see, almost as if they laid down in submission to the winds that were more powerful than they were.  Homes are either completely wiped out or ripped to shreds.  The church that my parents met in, thankfully, is still standing with minor damage done to the roof, and my home church suffers no more than a broken gate and a bent sign.

There have been numerous occasions where I've been tempted to cry.  I feel so incredibly blessed to still have a house, to know that my family is safe and sound even if we are without electricity and water for a bit.  There are so many in my hometown that are suffering devastating losses and I thank God that He kept His mighty hand of protection upon us.  But although my heart is soaring with gratitude, it is also heavy with grief.

This whole things seems so surreal, like a scene from Twister gone wrong.  I'm shocked and speechless, which is why this post seems like it's not going anywhere. 

But during this difficult time for my community, I am reassured, yet again, that God is so powerful.  The tornado was classified as an F3 with winds up to 160 miles per hour.  It traveled for 49 miles down Main Street and through other random sections of town.  If it weren't for the hills slowing it down, it could have reached an F4 level.  This storm is historic because of it's strength and rarity in our region.  It is merely by the grace of God and the power of prayer that the damage is not worse.

I know it's so hard to imagine why God would allow something like this to happen.  I have very limited understanding of God's will as it is, let alone when things like this occur.  But I have peace that He knows what He is doing and that He has shown His favor by the preservation of our sense of community.  Lives have been uprooted, homes have been demolished, yet my heart swells as I watch neighbors band together to get through this.  Disaster relief has been incredible.  Power companies are kicking tail.  I am so proud of everyone in my town for their strength during this time.

What exactly are we asking for when we pray for safety?  Are we asking for the storm to bypass us completely or are we asking that, even during the storm, God be with us?  Do we even acknowledge what we're truly asking for, or do we simply assume that God will give us the safety we desire instead of the safety that He deems best?  I don't understand God's plan.  I don't understand His purposes for this storm.  But I do understand that my Father can be seen in everything, even the destructive patterns of a tornado.

And I understand that He is our place of refuge and safety during this time.  As we try our hardest to move on with our lives and press forward, I am determined to cling to the words of Jeremiah: "I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." 

1 comment:

  1. So often, we ask God to keep us safe from the figurative storms of life. What we really mean is to keep the storms of life away. What we should be praying for is our God to be with us through the storms that He is allowing in our lives. Try to honestly and sincerely offer up that prayer to God.....no matter how difficult or long the next storm of your life becomes, your heart will ride through the storm in an entirely new way. And all of a sudden, our Father can be seen in everything. then take it a step further and thank him for the storm.....
    Thank You, God, thank you.