In Times Like This

I’m sitting here watching the news about the devastation in Oklahoma—both yesterday and today.  I spent most of my childhood in Oklahoma.  Both my brothers and many of my friends live in the Oklahoma City metro area. I also have friends and family in Shawnee.  When the footage rolls across the screen, I’m choking back tears.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, thankful to find out all my family and friends were safe.

responding to oklahoma tornado

In times like this, we want to know why.  

We struggle to understand how God could allow a tornado to level an elementary school.  I thought about the wise words of my friend Sandra:

Truth is, what hurts you hurts God even more. He created perfection. He called it good. He rested, because in perfection, true rest was possible. Rest from toil, worry, concern, and stress.

In times like these, we must remember God’s heart is breaking as well.

We cling to the  faithfulness of His character, the depth of His love, the truth of His Word … even when, especially when, life is hard.

In times like these, we do what we can.

One of my favorite ministries is Samaritan’s Purse.  I love the many ways this incredible organization ministers in the United States and around the world.  Teams from their North Carolina office are already on the way to Oklahoma to assess the situation and determine the best way they can support and help the victims of this disaster.  Samaritan’s Purse has been a vital part of rebuilding after the 2011 tornadoes here in Alabama and in Missouri.  They were in Moore, Oklahoma, in 1999, when this same city experienced a horrific tornado and they will be there again now.  Learn more about the disaster relief efforts of Samaritan’s Purse and specifically how you can be a part of what they will do in Oklahoma.  {As I was writing this post, Greta Van Susteren mentioned Samaritan’s Purse as one of those organizations always working tirelessly in disaster situations.}

In times like this, we pray.

We lift up parents who wait for news about their children.  We ache for children waiting to be reconnected with their parents.  We thank God for teachers who sacrifice their own lives for the lives of their students.  We pray for churches and pastors who will pray with and counsel the broken and the hurting.  We pray for the safety of first responders who work tirelessly to rescue and recover.  We ask the Lord to guide the government officials who will make vital decisions about allocations of resources.  We thank the Lord for volunteers who will sift through rubble, who will hand out water, who will open their homes, who will make sandwiches, who will hug and listen.  And we ask the Lord to continue to bring to mind these people who have lost so much in the days and weeks and months to come … the devastation and shock will give way to grieving and learning to live in the new normal.

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