As is most of America, I have been mourning the loss and destruction in Oklahoma this week. It is always easier to relate to an area that you are familiar with, and I traveled to this city once a week for treatments not too long ago.
I grew up smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. As soon as spring begins, you can almost feel them coming. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are attached to violent, tornado-producing thunderstorms.
Last year around this time we had a massive storm. They had actually been talking about this one for days in advance, which was unusual. The morning of the day it was supposed to hit our county I felt a strong calling to pray for that storm to break up and not hit our area.
A tornado did hit our city that night, not far from where we live. And the aftermath of the tornado did some pretty terrific damage to areas very close to us. Thankfully, our home and cars were not damaged. But it was a very close call.
This last Sunday we had another big storm. I did not have as much warning about this one, and I was not feeling very well that day. The sirens went off and I called and made sure my daughter knew what to do to protect herself because she was directly in the path of the storm coming toward us.
As I proceeded to prepare to leave for the community shelter, I was praying similar to how I prayed last year. I was watching the storm on the radar and I could see how big it was. There was a tornado coming right at us.
I was waiting for God to warn me that it was time to go to shelter as He always does. He never did. This time as the storm approached, I felt compelled to stand still and pray. I remembered the story of Jesus in Mark 4:35-38 (Webster Bible):
“And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith to them, Let us pass over to the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the boat. And there were also with him other small boats.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the boat, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say to him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? “
I did not rebuke the winds, or the storm. I stood still, and believing that Christ lives in me, I asked Him to push it back, to break it up. And He did. Our home and our cars were unscathed even though neighborhoods right next to ours were hit with torrential wind and hail.
Am I suggesting that I am responsible for any of this? No. I may never know for sure what happened when I prayed. As I realize more the truth that “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”, I find my faith growing (Galatians 2:20). We have the same power living inside of us that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).
Whatever storm heads your way, if you are a child of God you have the right to believe that He can still your storm. Whether it is a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, cancer, a divorce, or any number of things. Jesus still silences storms.
And if He does not silence it, then you know He has a purpose for it. I do not know if I will ever stand up to a tornado again without taking shelter. But I am thankful that He has given me the faith to stand against any storm in my life. Not in my strength, but in His:
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, peace, be still: and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said to them, why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:39-41, Webster Bible