Sunday was a very normal day for most of us. We heard warnings of severe weather coming into our area, but little did we know it would hit this close to home. Then around 3am a strong tornado ripped its way through Center Point, Pinson, Clay, and Trussville. Watching so many people have to pick up the pieces and put their lives back together is heart breaking. With a storm like this, there is so much that is out of our control; however, we can control our response to it. May we use this event to focus our hearts and minds on spiritual things and on God. Here are some thoughts I have had…
There are some questions that cannot be answered and having the answers doesn’t always help. In the aftermath of a natural disaster people often ask the question “why?” “Why? Why me? Why now? Why here?” While such questions may be normal, we should not try to provide all the answers. The reason is simple… we don’t have all the answers! Remember Job. He got news one day of a tornado like storm hitting his oldest son’s house and all of his children being killed in it as well as the loss of his animals and servants in other calamities. A little while later Job suffers a serious loss in his health. We know from the scriptures that Satan was trying to prove a point to God as well as to tempt Job, but Job didn’t know that. Job also didn’t know about God’s confidence in his faithfulness in allowing all of this to take place, thus proving Satan wrong. All Job knew was that he was suffering and hurting. He had many questions and concerns. His friends showed up and attempted to provide all the answers, but they caused more harm than good. Finally God speaks up. God doesn’t tell Job about what went on with Satan. God doesn’t really answer any of Job’s questions. Rather, through a barrage of questions God shows Job that God is in control. Job didn’t need all of the answers, he needed to trust in God’s love, power, and wisdom. When all was said and done, Job said to God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). We don’t have all the answers and we will make ourselves go crazy trying to figure them out. Instead we need to read Job chapters 38 through 42 and be impressed by the awesome power of God, His infinite wisdom, and His love for His creation. I may not know why everything happens, but I know that I can trust in God!
The results of sin are more devastating and far reaching than we typically imagine. It seems like every time a natural disaster like this strikes, there are religious minded people who say it must be a judgment from God. They talk about how God is trying to wake us up. The truth is we just don’t know and anyone who says they know what God is behind and what He is not behind is inventing things in his or her own mind! Having said this, God allowed bad things to enter this world because of the sin of mankind (Genesis 3:16-19). Why would God do this? It is not just about punishment, but also about helping to ensure our salvation. Paul said that God subjected this world to futility in hope (Romans 8:20-21). It was in hope that we would be saved. You see, the sufferings we experience on earth cause us to long for the glory and perfection of Heaven even more (Romans 8:18). So as we see the devastation and hurt for the broken lives, we should realize the impact of our sins and be even more determined to reach our Heavenly home!
The things in life that really matter cannot be purchased or built with wood and brick. Last year I had the opportunity to work in Pleasant Grove and experience first-hand the destruction. I will never forget the way those nice large homes looked like they had just been blown apart. Often all that was left was a hole in the ground or a concrete slab. How anyone survived at all is baffling. Now it has happened all over again. Houses, cars, boats, and more have been ruined beyond repair. It’s amazing how a $50,000 house and a $300,000 house look the same after a tornado rips through it. As the images of the storms started pouring in, our hearts were broken… not because of the damage to the homes but the lives those homes represented. We said, “I sure hope they made it” and we prayed. When the winds ceased, people in the paths of the storm weren’t immediately concerned about their houses and cars but about the condition of their family and neighbors. Eventually money would be an issue, but it wasn’t at that moment. This storm is a reminder of what Jesus taught us. We shouldn’t store up treasures on earth, where loss and destruction is common, but rather store up Heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21). In other words, make spiritual things and Heaven be what we live for and what matters most to us. Our focus is shifted back to the Lord and Christ, who is our life, takes center stage (Colossians 3:1-4).