First it was at 25….then 53…then 70…then it topped 100. 131 when I woke up. Now, at 5:30 the night after, close to 200 people in the state of Alabama are dead after yesterday’s tornadoes and storms ripped through the region. First and foremost, I want to send a word of prayer and encouragement to those who have lost homes, jobs, loved ones, and their sense of security, and I would hope that every Christian would do the same.
Tuscaloosa was hit especially hard, as many of the town’s businesses and neighborhoods are now completely obliterated. Having a cousin that goes to school there, along with other friends, it was heart-wrenching to watch that tornado blow through the city. I consider myself blessed that they’re all ok, and I’m grateful that God had His hand over them.
With that being said, what I want to get out tonight is that God is sovereign. Over all things, our Creator is in control. The storms of this life will never be too much to bear for those who trust in the Lord.
Isaiah 43:1-2 says that God has redeemed us. Verse 2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
I find it a miracle, not coincidence, that the UA campus itself did not suffer much damage. If there is any damage in Montevallo, it’s certainly not on campus. While this doesn’t take away from the tragedy surrounding the UA campus, or the rest of the state (Birmingham, Pratt City, etc.), it certainly shows that God has His mighty hand over His people.
I won’t encourage Christians to back down, but to use this disaster as an opportunity to share the gospel with the people around them. There’s no doubt that people will start to wonder if there is a God after this. By the time I’m done writing this blog, more people might be dead…I don’t know. But what I do know is that our Lord is alive and He has a plan in all this. And it is to make His name known.
In the hard times, when the world says “give in,” when the Christian says no, and instead turns to the Lord, that is when our God is glorified. Paul says “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”–Philippians 1:21. To live is Christ…to die is gain. For those who lost their lives in yesterday’s storms that knew Christ, we should rejoice that God has taken them home. Yes, they will be missed here, and right now it may not take away the pain, but we know where they are.
I once again stress that this world is not our home. In the cross of Christ, we find hope in life eternal, and find that our present pain and sufferings will not compare to our future glory and to an eternity of praising God for His wonderful work of salvation and love, shown to those who least deserve it. Our heavenly dwelling will not be rocked by tornadoes, storms, downed power lines, death, cancer, disease, accidents, or sin. It will consist of the glory of God being revealed for all eternity, and His people giving Him the praise that He deserves.
So, those who profess the name of Jesus….show it now. Now is a chance, presented by God, to show His glory, to show that no matter what, we believe in His sovereignty and His love. Ultimately, nothing on this earth will keep us from God. He is always there. Jesus is waiting to love on His children, with arms wide open, and we can find comfort in casting our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
This isn’t the end. Not for Birmingham, not for Tuscaloosa, not for Alabama. And not for the believer. We look forward, good times and bad, to a glorious hope, to a glorious and incredible ending…an ending that even the best writer could never put into worthy words. It will be magnificent to see our Lord, our Savior, our Comforter, our King, come and take His people home. Home may be hard to find right now for a lot of folks. Find rest in the Lord, friends. Find home, and hope, in Jesus Christ.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making ALL THINGS NEW.'”–Revelations 21:1-5
Scripture goes on to say that the thirsty will come before God, and He will give from the spring of water of life, without payment.
Amidst all the pain, suffering, wreckage, and tragedy in this world, we serve a mighty God. And we serve a risen Savior. Tornadoes cannot take that away. Death cannot take that away. Our sin cannot take that away. Nothing in this world will separate us from God. This is what we have to look forward to. An incredible reunion with our Savior. And in this time, we have a God who is Healer, Redeemer, and Creator of all things. He is in control. Rest in this truth, and find rest in the One who gives true peace.