The scenes from Oklahoma are beyond imagination. It is hard to take it all in. The massive storm, the fear of those fleeing its path, the destruction left behind, the loss of life, the heartache. How does one even begin? I would imagine you’d just want to sit down and quit. Give up. But from what I have seen and heard on the television the folks affected are not quitters…they are looking out for each other and pitching in to do whatever they can to take care of the wounded, comfort the grieving, clean up the debris and begin to rebuild.
Fortunately God gives the grace of shock. Being in shock grants a numbness which allows time so we can slowly absorb what has taken place. It is a mercy. If we had to absorb it all suddenly, it would be much too overwhelming. So God in His mercy gives us “shock absorbers”. Like the dawn that arrives slowly so that we can adjust to the brightness of the sun, we are given time to adjust to what has happened.
I think at a time like this we always ask , “Why?” I know I do. For me there is always in the back of my mind that God is withdrawing His Spirit from our land because of our godless ways. (No, God is not specifically targeting Oklahoma or the people there but it is part of living in a fallen world that is rejecting God and He is slowly withdrawing.)
But we do live in a fallen world – terrible things happen everyday. But the terrible news brings us to more questions. Couldn’t God have prevented this? Couldn’t He have intervened? Couldn’t He have protected those children? All those questions can be answered with a “Yes.” He could have prevented it. He could have intervened. And He could have protected the children. To live fully is to live in double reality – to know our pain and loss but also to know His love. Where was He during the storm? Where He always is – right in the midst of the destruction and pain, comforting, grieving with us, strengthening us.
It is difficult. We cannot understand. And sometimes there are no answers. We just have to live with unanswered questions. That’s where faith comes in. Faith is not easy. It is courageous. It looks at the hard stuff and stands up to say, “I will believe.”
As we see all that has changed, all the destruction…that’s when we can look to the unchanging character of God. He is almighty, bigger than the storm, compassionate, deliverer, enough, faithful, gracious, our hope and help…He does not change. We can rest in His eternal character.
As Job did. Job must have experienced a tornado-like event. “A great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died.” He lost all his children and his livelihood in one day. He struggled to understand why but he stood firm in knowing God was sovereign and could be trusted even though Job did not understand.
We too, are given an opportunity to trust God. Let’s not waste the opportunity.