One Saturday when I was younger, the school carnival was taking place on a stormy day. While we were all gathered in the school gymnasium, a tornado struck down, hopping down the street I lived on. We came home to debris in the yard, but my friend down the street came home to a home destroyed by a black funnel of wind. A random touchdown that changed an otherwise normal Saturday.
As I watch the coverage of Oklahoma, I choke back tears which come easier these days since being pregnant and becoming a mom. I look at the neighborhoods completely flattened into shreds of wood and mangled cars and scattered belongings. I cant help but think, Where would you even begin?
How could you possibly rebuild?
The devastation seems overwhelming. A school building crumbled on top of children and teachers while rescuers dig for survivors as parents hang onto slivers of hope. Home after home of families who put everything they had into four walls, destroyed in just minutes. A highway full of cars crashed into one another as they were just trying to get to a safe place.
Where do the survivors go?
I can barely keep it together as they interview survivors who are barely keeping it together. With only the clothes on their back, they come out of shelters to skies turned blue and dig through piles of scrap. Everything they hold dear is in piles that look like those you'd find in a junkyard.
Where was God?
It's easy for people to look up to the dark sky and wonder where He was. To wonder what He was doing when the mile-wide funnel of wind was ripping through a neighborhood, just like we wondered when a shooter entered an elementary school armed with destruction and two bombers roamed through the streets of Boston and an explosion devastated a small town in Texas.
Where was God?
He was hurting just like He hurts when a single tear falls from our eyes. He was hurting when the children He created turned against one another and He hurt when the earth He formed turned on His creation. He was with the children trapped under their school's walls and their parents as they couldn't get answers fast enough. He was with the man listening to storm coverage on the radio who got under cover in the nick of time. He was with each rescuer as they listened to their inner voice - His voice - to lead them to survivors.
And He's there today as His beloved come out of hiding to see what little they have left. He's with each of us as we hurt for those who hurt, because that's His love coming through us to others.
God's with us. God's in us. Through every storm, every raindrop, every hurt.
Praying for you, Oklahoma.