I remember that day as if it was yesterday although its been many years.
Outside the winds roared and the sirens blared
but inside in the basement of our home I huddled with my family and waited for the tornado to pass.
I pulled my Tiny Tears doll closer to myself.
I had only had a minute to grab my doll, my money jar and my Bible before I rushed down to the basement.
The wind howled harder. My stomach tightened.
Would it ever pass?
Would this long night ever end?
Visions came to mind of the flattened land that used to be an elementary school.
Just a few months earlier
before we had moved to Kansas City
a vicious tornado had swept through our community
leaving vast destruction in its path. A whole school gone.
My nine year old eyes had seen the result
making a lasting impression of sadness and loss
and the power of a tornado.
I had seen what it could do.
Sickening fear mounted within me and pulled me tighter in its clasp.
I swallowed and looked down at my doll.
She gave me no hope. Much as I loved her she now lay helplessly in my arms. She could not save me.
I glanced at my money jar resting on the table beside me.
It held all my carefully saved quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies.
But what good would that do me
if our house was destroyed like that school had been?
Much as I’d thought saving my money jar was a good idea
I now saw it’s powerlessness to do anything.
What could the money do?
I looked down at my small rainbow children’s Bible.
If I held it the just right way
my Bible opened right to Psalm 119.
That was especially helpful when having a Bible drill.
The sirens screamed even louder and I could hear muffled voices outside.
I watched dad walked up the stairs to check on what was happening
and my heart trembled even more.
And then suddenly I remembered the story of David and how he faced old Goliath.
I opened my Bible to where that picture was
all the while reflecting on the amazing victory God had given.
In the midst of seeming impossibilities
David cried out to God for strength and victory.
And God heard his cry.
Mean, vicious, terrifying Goliath was defeated.
My heart began to relax. I knew where my help came from.
There is terror in our world today. There is no denying it.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce
But in the midst of the terror God still whispers His peace.
Toys won’t save us. Money has only limited ability to help.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
My heart is quieted as I rest in His ability. He whispers calm to all of us.
What ifs slowly diminish as we allow ourselves to be wrapped in His comfort
and trust in His Power.
That tornado passed over us that night and life returned to normal
but I will always remember that terrifying experience.
But I learned that
God still gives peace in the midst of the storm.
Visions of destruction might easily come to mind
but let’s turn our eyes to the One Who gives victory.
Let’s remember what He has done in the past and seek hope in Him alone.
He still gives Peace.
He still gives Hope.
He still gives victory.
May our response to every what if be —
so what. Our trust is in Him.
Nestled in His care we can live each day with confidence and courage.