Mel received this picture from a friend online. Someone working on an oil rig was apparently fascinated by the lightning, so he wanted to take some photos. See the shape in the middle? Can you tell what it is? Can you imagine what must have gone through his mind when he saw it? I wonder if he was prepared to escape the unexpected. We had one of these rip through our small town a few years ago. We watched it in the sky from the church door in the next town. Terrifying how much power can be harnessed by the right angle of wind and and currents moving through the air. The man who took this picture got out alive, in case you were wondering. Some people lost everything in our tornado a few years ago.
I understand the fascination with danger this man must have felt. I was standing in our front yard about a year after the tornado took out our downtown. The tornado alarms were going off again, and it was almost a year to the day since we’d lost one of our citizens rescuing others from the attacking monster. I stepped out into the front yard and peered down toward the end of our road to see the tornado spotters doing their thing. So I looked around at the clouds. I love looking at clouds, anyway. I just happened to look up (have I told you about this before? I probably have. I’m of the age when I repeat my fun stories often) and I saw the clouds moving in a strange way. It was as if all the clouds in the center of a pre-ordered circle moved outward toward the edge of that circle, slowly, leisurely. Fascinated, I continued to watch as the perfectly rounded edges of that circle formed and began to turn. I couldn’t remember if it was in a clockwise fashion or counter clockwise. I only knew I was so excited that I ran into the house and hollered at Mel to come out and see this fabulous cloud formation.
Well, the spoil sport took one look at the formation, gasped, grabbed me and told me, “Get in the basement. Now!”
I stopped and took one final look at that beautiful formation as it circled with more speed, but Mel didn’t allow me time to enjoy it. I found myself unceremoniously dragged to the basement, to the room where Mel was keeping all his model airplanes at the time. It was the only room in the basement without windows. I looked at the propellers and could just envision them being spun by the power of the forming tornado outside. We moved those airplanes out of their safe hangar after that.
But we were prepared. We had a concrete bunker below the concrete porch steps that was completely underground and could pretty much fend off anything.
We may be partially ready for a tornado coming our way, but we can’t be prepared for everything. That’s one reason I’m glad we have Someone to take up the slack when we get caught unaware. I’ve heard so many people tell about miracles they’ve seen after Joplin, MO, was devastated by a huge tornado last year. I’ve seen people give up their own lives to save others. I’ve overheard recordings of people stuck in a convenience store as the tornado honed in on them. What I heard were strangers looking out for one another, praying, helping. And since then I’ve heard many people of faith tell about how their faith was tested and proved in the fire of the devastation that most people couldn’t imagine would ever bring about good.
Are you prepared? Most of us are rich by the world’s standards, despite what we might be going through right now, but if you lost it all, are you prepared to see the miracles God can produce amidst the chaos?