Friday, March 3, 2017

Tornado Town

As we rolled through the third anniversary of the April 27 Tuscaloosa/ Birmingham storms this week and faced the threat of severe weather once again, a single word was peaking my interest—tornados. I had seen the damage just days after the storms in 2011 and had lots of family and friends that had lived through the event. It was surreal. There is nothing that prepares you to see people’s lives scattered for miles. You wonder how something could be so strong and so powerful as to demolish what took years to build and establish. A natural disaster can be one of life’s biggest wakeup calls and perhaps one of life’s great reminders to choose life.
          No matter where you live physically or spiritually, the storms of life will always find you. If we are not anchored in Christ, these storms take us from a sturdy foundation to a pile of wreckage in a matter of seconds.
As I watched the news this week, the weather man said something that set the wheels of writing in motion. Standing in a field in Mississippi, he pointed to the sky behind him and said, "The next storm is there between the light and the dark." And just like that, in a single sentence this guy summed up the struggle of Christianity. Think about it. The Bible says “We are the light of the world, a shining city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14) and our job is to reflect God’s light in the darkness. We are to go out and take a stand and proclaim the good news we have found. The storms erupt when the light tries to cross into the dark or the dark into the light, or at least they should. His comment made me think of a Tenth Avenue North song called, “Healing Begins” which takes this idea of light meeting dark even further within your own self. Some of the lyrics are:
This is where the healing begins, oh // This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you're broken within
The light meets the dark // The light meets the dark
Sparks will fly as grace collides // With the dark inside of us
So please don't fight // This coming light
Let this blood come cover us // His blood can cover us
            And these lyrics finally lead to my ultimate point that God can be like a tornado in our own lives. Often we don't fear Him or acknowledge His power or presence the way we should, but in a moment He can blow into our lives and a touch from Him can wreck us down to nothing in order to rebuild us. Like a powerful force, God can sweep into our lives and leave a trail of debris as He gets rid of all the junk. And like I said in the beginning it can be the best wakeup call in the world.
As Tuscaloosa and so many others have taught us, we are overcomers. With God as our hope, we can be resilient. We can rebuild and we can live to fight again. Tuscaloosa is dear to my heart because it lent a hand in raising me, but even if it isn’t your town, we’ve all got one. Learn from the strength of the people, from the strength of a natural disaster and from the strength of a powerful and loving God and don’t take a single second of life for granted. James says, “You are but a mist” (James 4:14). And when the storms do come, bunker down in Jesus and know you are safe in His arms.
We will not forget (4/27/11). Roll Tide!
-Only Hope

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