When Tragedy Strikes, Hope Remains

It’s been almost one year since the tornadoes devastated north and central Alabama.  We were still living on the Georgia coast when this, one of the deadliest tornadoes in Alabama history, struck.  Over 130 miles of an E-4/E-5 tornado … stretching across several counties and affecting thousands of people.

Many of you have read and heard about the damage and rebuilding in Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama.  Samaritan’s Purse has been a big part of that rebuilding.

But receiving less media coverage and relying far more on the efforts of individuals and small companies and non-profits are areas near Russellville, Alabama, which is where we live now.

This photo was taken in Hackleburg.  Less than 30 miles from my house, Hackleburg was completely destroyed.  The elementary, middle and high schools were leveled.  Subdivisions were demolished.   Police and fire departments, electrical and water services, grocery stores, and gas stations … gone.  Homes destroyed and lives lost.


All told, 238 people were killed in Alabama during the tornado outbreak that day.  Two hundred thirty-eight people.


This Friday will mark the one-year anniversary of this tragedy.  Homes are  rebuilt, businesses and schools are functioning, and slowly the survivors are figuring out how to live after such profound loss.


The people in Hackleburg and in Phil Campbell, in Tuscaloosa and in Decatur, in Mississippi and in Georgia, and in all the areas affected by the storms that day are forever changed.  We are all forever changed.


We know, in a whole new way, that storms come and they destroy.  But there is hope … there is always hope.


Mountain View Baptist Church in Phil Campbell was destroyed on Wednesday, April 27.  Sunday, May 1, they met … in their parking lot with the storm’s wreckage as a backdrop for their worship service that clear, sunny morning.


image via www.timesdaily.com

Why?  Because we have THIS hope …
… we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this hope as a secure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf …  {Hebrews 6:18-20}

When tragedy strikes, where is YOUR hope?

image via www.timesdaily.com 

For more about the role Samaritan’s Purse has played in the rebuilding in Alabama check out these videos.


Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. My hometown, Glade Spring, VA, was hit in this same string of storms and got no coverage at all because of the massively horrible devastation in AL. Four people lost their lives in this small town that is still recovering. There has been no FEMA support, it’s been all neighbor helping neighbor. One church was completely destroyed. Another larger church in the are stepped in to pay the pastor’s salary. It truly is all about where and in whom your true hope lies.

    • I am so sorry, Amy. Believe me, many small towns in Alabama can tell the same story. Tuscaloosa received the vast majority of assistance. Hackleburg, the town I mentioned in my article, was very small and of the 350 buildings in the community – only 1 was completely untouched.

      So thankful we have a God who is faithful in all things.

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