Today we lived through what may be the worst tornado outbreak in US history—the devastation is heart wrenching. I’ve spent the last four hours watching storm after storm break out. Reports of damage, devastation and deaths are pouring in. It’s more than I can even process right now.
As these storms began I thought of the phrase – port in the storm, a safe place. When you from these parts, you know that means the basement or the smallest room in the center of the house. As I watched the storms pop up across the screen, I prayed that everyone was in their safe place.
My oldest daughter, the one who will make me a Grand mom in September, called to let me know her power was out and cell service spotty. She promised to stay in touch. I watched one storm head her way – I called, she answered. I told her to get to her safe place. She promised. I trusted.
Tornados popped up everywhere. Devastation widespread. Reports of roofs ripped off, tress snapped, complete neighborhoods wiped out. And then I saw the tornado pop up – out of nowhere. It was clear and then it was there – heading right to their little town. I called. No answer. No worries. Cell service spotty.
I texted. Sometimes text go through when cell service is spotty. Nothing. The storm was full out red on the radar—a tornado. It was there and they live on the top of a mountain, the edge of a bluff. No protection. Right out in the open.
I could only pray she and her hubby were their safe place – their port in the storm.
Ten minutes passed. More reports of houses ripped from foundations. More videos of mile wide violent tornados. More pictures of loss. More than I could stand.
Twenty minutes passed. No word from her. Reports of fatalities.
Thirty minutes. The knot in my stomach tightened. Nothing. More reports. More deaths. My mind whirled. What if?
Forty minutes. No word. Prayer request sent out. I needed a port in my storm. Not a basement. I needed to remember who holds me in the palm of His hand. And I was reminded by a sweet friend who sent me a scripture —
Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children. Gen 50:21 The Message
And this comment “It’s Joseph speaking to his brothers, but it was God speaking thru Joseph and straight to you and me.”
And in that moment God reminded me He has a plan, a perfect plan for her life and for my life. He is my port in any storm. My safe place. My shelter and my strong tower.
My heart calmed. The knot eased up. I know that His plans are greater than mine. I trusted His will over my wants.
Fifty minutes. Still nothing. More reports. More devastation. Very likely the worst tornado outbreak in US History. 53 dead.
The phone rings. It’s her. She’s good. She’s safe. All is well. My heart rejoices.
But what if it had been different. As it is for so many in Alabama tonight. The confirmed 53 and the many more, unconfirmed. What if the call had never come? I don’t know how I would feel because I’m not there and I won’t assume to understand the pain others are walking in.
It looks like chaos to us. Trees down everywhere. Houses reduced to a piles of debris. Huge buildings just gone. People crushed. Images everywhere. So much sadness. So much gone – homes, schools. hospitals and people. Gone.
It looks like chaos, but God is still God. None of this took Him by surprise. I won’t even begin to try explain this. I can’t.
But I know God is still God and He loves His children.
He binds up the brokenhearted (Ps 147:3)
…my stronghold and my refuge (2 Sam 22:3)
He is God. He loves me. That’s enough for me today.
Pray for Alabama. Pray for all those who have lost family members. Pray for those who’ve lost homes. Pray for those who are waiting to hear from their loved ones.
All of Alabama needs your prayers. We are at a loss for reason. But as for me, I will trust God.