Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Aftermath - Alabama Tornadoes - Part 3

Tomorrow will mark one week since the tornadoes destroyed our area.  Power has been restored to the majority of the nearly 1 million households originally without electricity.  The death toll for our state is currently somewhere around 250, but hundreds are still missing.

It is hard to fathom the extent of the damage.  The news agencies continue to report on additional cities that have yet to make the news.  There are just too many to report.  Well-known cities, like Tuscaloosa, received immediate help, while it was several days before some of the smaller communities received assistance.  One scene from the movie Twister continues to run through my mind:

Joey:   Now, that was a good size twister. What was it, an F3?
Bill:   Solid F2.
Melissa:   See, now you have lost me again.
Bill:   It's the Fujita scale. It measures a tornado's intensity by how much it eats.
Melissa:   Eats?
Bill:   Destroys.
Laurence:   That one we encountered back there was a strong F2, possibly an F3.
Beltzer:   Maybe we'll see some 4's.
Haynes:   That would be sweet!
Bill:   4 is good. 4 will relocate your house very efficiently.
Melissa:   Is there an F5?
[Everyone goes dead silent]
Melissa:   What would that be like?
Jason 'Preacher' Rowe:   The Finger of God.

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that we were spared.

After Wednesday’s storms, we spent the night at home (still unable to get out of the driveway due to the downed power lines).  The next day, someone from Criss’ work came to help him try to get his work truck out of the yard.  With the help of a 2x4, tree cutters, and a little tree climbing, they were able to fish the lines out of a tree so that we could leave the house. 

Songs from Louie The Lightning Bug continue to run through my mind.  When the lines first fell, I stressed to the children the importance of never playing around power lines.  Now that they’ve seen their dad climb a tree to knock them down and we’ve been driving over them for a week, I’ve resorted to stressing that in the future, they should never again be around or drive over downed power lines. J

Thursday morning, Criss headed to work while I got us packed for what I knew would be several days at Criss’ parents’ house.  That is another thing I am extremely thankful for – Criss’ parents live a county south of us, and they still had power.

Part of the problem with the power being out is that my kids have such unique health needs involving special diets.  Criss and I could live on dry cereal and bread for a while if we needed to, but the kids HAVE to have their special food or they can end up a total mess.  I was able to move their bread (that I special order from Florida 32 loaves at a time and keep in my mom’s freezer) and the 20+ bags of Silas’ chicken nuggets that I had just bought while they were on sale and get them to my in-laws’ freezer before it all ruined.

This is something that people rarely think about during crises such at this – the impact is has on children with special needs and their families.  I cannot even imagine having to stay at a shelter for even a day with my children.  There would most likely be absolutely nothing that Silas could eat.  If he was forced to eat whatever was available, he could be having those terrible screaming spells within a day or two – all while sitting in a shelter with hundreds of other people.  (Don’t you know they’d love us.  They’d probably take up a special collection just to get rid of us.J)

After four days without power, we were able to return home Saturday evening.  Autumn was finally able to return to school today.  Communication has been difficult, and I continue to hear reports of family and friends who have been affected by the tornadoes.

What are we to do when we are faced with such heartache and devastation?  The Bible tells us to focus on the truth (Philippians 4:8), but sometimes the truth is not pretty.  What do we do when (literally or figuratively) we have a mile wide tornado heading straight for us?  Is God any less good?  Is He any less in control?  Of course not!

There have been times that I’ve sat here waiting on results from the children’s doctors – results that could greatly alter the course of our lives.  I have learned that it’s not about denying reality and pretending like nothing’s wrong.  It’s about facing the hard realities of life head on and choosing to believe that no matter what the outcome, my God will get me through.  And with each new problem that arises, I choose to say, “God, even in this, I will trust You.”  It’s not about believing He will remove every storm.  It’s knowing He’s the One getting me through the storm. 

I hope you will find Him in whatever “storm” you are facing today.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)

“So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)


1 comment:

  1. Yep, He loves you no matter how deeply your life/world is devastated or not. Thankful with you that He is trustworthy no matter the outcome.