Several years ago I was heading back home to Ash Flat, Arkansas from a lectureship in Tennessee. The day of driving was filled with intensity as storms developed all around us. I counted 18 tornados that formed and crossed the highway within ten minutes behind us all the way home.
When we got into Arkansas we were having trouble contacting people at home because of the storms. About half an hour away from home we hit a wall of wind that nearly stopped the 15 passenger van we were riding in. After we got through the wall of the storm we got the call.
My friends Greg and Kendal were riding with us; they lived in Highland, and we were to drop them off on our way just past them to Ash Flat. The call basically said “Highland is gone”.
That evening, while we were traveling home, an EF4 tornado skirted the outside of Ash Flat and demolished Highland. In fact, houses on the same block as my friends’ house were damaged by the twister. The devastation was intense.
The next day we began to survey the situation. The temps the day of the tornado were in the 70s, but the next morning there was snow falling from the sky. Businesses and homes of friends were destroyed. No lives were lost, but everyone’s life was disrupted.
This week we are watching the story unfold of the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. I am seeing the devastation. I see the same looks on people’s faces that I saw the year of our tornado.
I see something else that I saw before: hope. During times of crisis people band together and help one another out no matter their race or economic status. People don’t care what church others go to or what they believe. In times of crisis we are all humans helping out our brothers and sisters in the storm.
I am saddened by the tragedy, but I am encouraged by the selfless love poured out in such an event.
We shouldn’t wait until there is a catastrophe for us to treat each other with the kind of love and selflessness being shown in Oklahoma right now and Arkansas before. We should be praying for each other and our country at all times. We should be searching for life in all circumstances. To this we are called as followers of the One who showed compete humility and self-sacrifice and love on our behalf through the excruciating experience of the cross.
I am praying for Oklahoma today. I am also praying for you. Let us find unity in Christ and selfless love now instead of waiting until something bad happens. Then we will truly have a wonderful life.