Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On tornadoes and such

It was a EF3 tornado. Its path was 18 miles long, 3/4 mile wide, accompanied by 140 mile an hour winds. You can read more about it here. I am glad for the internet (and for the electricity that powers it). One of the benefits (detriments?) of living in a small town is a lack of continuously streaming information. In those first several hours, once our power was restored, I was glued to the computer, searching out every bit of information, every horrifying picture I could find.

We rode through some of the damaged areas Sunday night. People always say that aftermath of storms like ours looks like a war zone. It does indeed. Thanks to the wonder that is Facebook, I'd seen pictures. A two dimensional shot, no matter how striking, doesn't begin to do justice to the reality of the devastation. One of our city councilmen made the statement that the landscape of our town has changed forever. It has. And not just physically.

My husband and I are not from here. We're transplants, having moved here almost fourteen years ago. Yet we grieve. This may not be our hometown but it is our home. We weren't born here but here we have lived. And as such riding through the devastation brought tears to our eyes.

There was no loss of life. That in itself is amazing. Yesterday at the grocery store I saw a young teenaged acquaintance whose home was completely decimated with her and her family huddled inside. Are you okay, I asked, feeling ridiculous even as I did. Who can be okay after your home was picked up only to be thrown down again several yards away from its foundation? We're praying for you, I assured her. We are. We do.

I've been praying for our mayor, city council, police chief, fire chief, school superintendent and the other city leaders. There's no blueprint for this, our mayor said in a radio interview Sunday morning. I am thankful for the strong leadership they've demonstrated. May the Lord continue to grant them strength and wisdom, clarity of mind and calmness of spirit.

We saw sheriff's cars and utility trucks from neighboring counties and cities. I know that's not unusual with a disaster like ours, but seeing others come so quickly to our aid was, for lack of a better (less cheesy) word, heartwarming.

Our high school and middle school were both hit pretty hard. Classes have been canceled system wide for the whole week and a plan is being formulated for completing the school year. Students will not be returning to the high school and middle school campuses, that much is certain.

With the boys home this week, we are little off-kilter. Okay, so it's me that's off-kilter and, honestly, I can't blame it on the boys. Disasters move others to act, to serve. I brood.

I was thinking of the comfort, the security, that comes with knowing that God is sovereign. Sometimes we resent and resist His sovereignty, thinking it's not fair, that we deserve--or don't deserve--this or that. Ultimately, whether I find His sovereign control a source of refuge or resentment depends on what I know of His character. His Word tells me He is good, that His mercy endures forever, that He works all things according to His will for our good and His glory. If I believe that, if I know His glory to be my greatest desire, if I trust Him, then I can rest even in the midst of our corporate and personal grief.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Ps. 45:1-3)

7 comments:

  1. I tend to brood and become powerless when disastors like this strike. I need to hear every bit of information out there...
    I'm glad your town is rallying and that no one was killed...

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  2. I didn't realize you were in the path of the tornadoes. Glad to hear that no one was killed, but sorry for the devastation to your town. We are in earthquake country here and Ps. 45: 1 -3 is indeed a huge comfort in the face of natural disaster. Praying for healing for your town and "normalcy" soon.

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  3. Oh, friend, I know how you feel. Our small town has survived 2 floods and another hurricane that brought wind devastation ..all since 1999. It's so hard to see the grief when you've been spared. Praying the Lord will raise up mighty warriors to minister to those in your community.

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  4. So, so glad you and yours are okay.

    The world certainly does seem to be groaning in labor pains. . .tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes:

    We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
    Romans 8:22-23

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  5. Only God knows how hard I prayed for the safety of you, my family, and he answered my prayers. I'm so sorry for the devastation caused by this tornado. I know how hard you've worked on the school board and how beautifully it was all coming along. I know you will rebuild and my prayer is to thank our Lord that no one in Albertville was killed. That in itself is an answer to prayer. If I can do anything from here, please let me know. I love you all and my prayers continue to be with you and your town as well as all the other areas that were hit with this tornado. Mimi

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  6. Oh, I'm so sorry for your town's tornado strike. We had our own up close and personal experience with a tornado in 2001, and it was terrifying, to say the least. The best to you and all for recovery.

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  7. It is so true what you wrote: "Ultimately, whether I find His sovereign control a source of refuge or resentment depends on what I know of His character."

    And how can we know His character unless we study His Word? The more we know about Him, the more we realize He is completely trustworthy and has our best interests at heart.

    You did a great job explaining your feelings in the midst of disaster. I love the scripture you shared!

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