About 12 years ago I was in a friend’s apartment getting ready to leave for Brazil the next morning. We were watching the news talking about a huge tornado coming towards the area. The eye of this storm was supposed to be a mile wide. Several other friends who lived in the same apartment complex came over and we all went outside and watched the sky.
The big daddy never came near us but we could see it. It barely rained where we were. If I remember right all of us slept together in the same apartment. The next morning I got up and went to the airport and flew out to Brazil and as we left we flew over Moore, Oklahoma, the town that was demolished yesterday. The images I’m seeing on the news sites and on Facebook right now are almost identical to what I saw 12 years ago.
That storm passed through during the night so the schools that were destroyed were empty. During that storm I knew people who knew people who lost things but no one I knew was directly effected. This time very dear friends lost a barn and I thank God that that is all they lost. They very easily could no longer be here. This time I had friends that lived in a neighborhood that was utterly destroyed but as far as I know they weren’t even touched. And I thank God that they are ok.
As I am getting all my news of people who I know and love from that area from Facebook its very possible that I have lost some one I love. I’m sure that won’t all hash out for a couple of weeks. But I do have friends that I KNOW are ok. And I thank God for that. I have also seen a lot of foolish statements on Facebook about what happened this week that almost break my heart worse than looking at what was destroyed. I see people trying to say that this is God’s will, and that is false. I see people getting angry at the school district for not canceling school as if anyone in that town could have known what was about to happen. That is like saying that the daycare in the Federal buildings in OKC should have known to close the day that Timothy McVeigh blew it up. I have seen people blaming God for letting this happen. I see a lot of hurt and confusion talking, I also see a lot of ignorance being spoken as well.
In a time like this its a great deal easier to see God’s love. Now you might think I’m saying this because of all the people who are showing up to local churches to bring supplies, but that’s not it. Or maybe it’s because of all the people who have left their jobs to go help people sort out and clean up what used to be their home, but that’s not it either. Could it me in the statement of an elderly gentleman who when interviewed said “All this stuff belongs to God anyway, he can do what he wants with it,” but that’s not it either (although I pray that we can all get to that point in our life where this is a reality for us and not just a church saying). Where I see it is in the tornado.
I’m sure some of you think I have lost my mind but let me explain. You know when God set up the world he designed tornadoes? He put it in his design that when the conditions are right wind and water will be come a devastating force that we can neither predict nor control. We can make guesses and observations but we can no more control the direction of a tornado than we can change the color of the sky. But God can control it. While I do not believe He directly caused this tornado it is His design. I also have read about the power of my brother and Savior simply speaking to a similar storm and it went immediately calm. And if this is what my God can do when limited to human form how much more could He do when He is unlimited.
So how does that exactly show His love? I mean doesn’t it make sense that if He really is a loving and all-powerful God, why didn’t he stop this? Did the people of Moore do something wrong and they needed to be punished? I mean Moore has been slapped like this several times. In fact the year after the storm I experienced they got hit again. I doubt that God is punishing Moore. Or maybe those people who died he needed in heaven.
I’m going to take a small break in my narrative and soap box for a moment. All of you people who are saying things like “At least these little children are with God now,” or “God must have needed them in heave,” could you kindly do us all a favor and shut your mouth. that is not helpful and it’s just plain ignorant. If you think for a second that God’s heart is not absolutely shattered at the loss of life, child or adult, you clearly have no understanding of who God really is. If your child was suffering, no matter what the cause, you would be suffering as well. So if you, being an utterly imperfect parent, feel this way, how much more is God enduring right now? Comments like the one above only hurt and misrepresent God. If you are looking for something to say that will comfort people stick with I’m sorry and I’m praying. That is unless you happen to know a magical combination of cliché’s that will actually restore those lives that are gone, then you can say horrible things like “This must be God’s will.”
Ok back to the original line of thought.So how do I see God’s love in Him not stopping a terrible storm that took lots of lives and destroyed so much? It’s because He didn’t interfere. WHAT?! Yeah it’s because He didn’t change anything He created simply because I don’t like the results. It shows me that I am not in control. It shows me that my life should not be about what I want because what I want is irrelevant. Life is not about my happiness. Life is not about being free from suffering. In the words of the wise Dread Pirate Roberts, “Life is pain.”
In times of loss and pain we always look for reason or explanation as to why this was a good thing. You know what, sometimes bad things happen. It’s not God’s plan, it’s not His will but it happened. Instead of looking for your own explanation in times like this turn to God for comfort. Too often when things like this happen we turn to God for him to explain Himself. I dare say that exercise is futile because I fear His explanation will be, sometimes bad things happen. But if we instead will turn to him for comfort and consolation I believe we will find an embrace that will comfort better than any hug ever could. If we ask Him to help with the pain I think we will find rest that beats any blanket and warm bed.
In times like these don’t run to God with your accusatory wagging finger or your idiotic explanation of the unexplainable. Instead run to Him with your broken heart and your bottomless sadness, as a child runs to his father after he has fallen off his bike and skinned his knee. Run to Him and crawl up in his lap with your hurt, let him clean your wound. Let him stitch up the scar and let Him hold you in His arms. Come to Him humbly and broken and He will comfort you.