About 5/22, Before and After

How are you spending this week of remembrance?

One can’t turn on the radio or TV or go on the internet without being reminded of the day that changed our lives forever. We’ve even started marking time by the moment that monster storm ravaged our area. Now we punctuate our sentences with “Before (or After) the Tornado.” How are you doing with that? Are you glad for all the reliving of that day five years ago or is it just a painful reminder of a terrible time?

Before the Tornado most of us were pretty blasé about storm warnings. Sometimes we were even a little self-satisfied about living in tornado alley. Before the Tornado I loved a good thunderstorm.  Have you ever read Psalm 29—loudly—while the storm roared and lightning flashed? Did it make you shout with delight at the glory of a God Who thunders? Did you marvel at the voice of the Lord that strikes with flashes of lightning? Do you still? Or do you now, After the Tornado, flinch when His voice strikes? Do you sometimes find yourself staying up late into the night, glued to your favorite TV weathercaster until the threatening front moves on?

Before the Tornado, my favorite day was wrapped in deep blue skies and a bright sun shining against towering dark clouds, and if lightning happened to dance from cloud to cloud and then leap to the ground right before thunder happened to shake my world, well… what could be better than a Psalm 29 day! Somehow it always seemed intriguingly cozy and full of promise. After the Tornado, I still love a Psalm 29 day; but now I enjoy those towering clouds best when I know my weather radio and phone alerts are monitoring them for me.

I took a little walk in the rain yesterday. A dusty house and unfinished blog were calling my name, but the morning wrapped our yard in soft shades of gray and the peaceful, steady rain was just too inviting to ignore. I have to admit, though, for a brief time last night the thunder shaking our bed and lightning blazing through our windows seemed a little too close—not inviting at all. And if this system doesn’t move out in the next day or so as my favorite weathercaster promises, it will begin to feel very un-inviting indeed. You see, there are flood advisories out again and our daughter Kim has only just been able to move back home, nearly five months after the Christmas Flood inundated her house on Shoal Creek. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it would be to see her beautifully-restored home devastated a second time. How could one face such chaos and confusion again?

She’s already shown us how. It’s the same way she’s endured this prolonged time of trial alone, so soon after the loss of her beloved husband Jim. It’s how the great King David withstood the loss of his beloved child, so soon after he’d faced his great sin. Both giants of the faith fell on their faces before their Father pleading for mercy, then rose to testify that they had faced their greatest fear and found God faithful.

Truly He is the God of glory Who thunders. His voice is powerful. And here’s the rest of the truth that strengthens Kim, and King David, and all of us who seek Him in the storm:

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.  The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Psalm 29:10-11

So, how are you doing with this time of remembrance? Are you relishing your Psalm 29 days? Are you seeking God in the storm and finding Him faithful? Is the LORD blessing you with peace? Butterflies at the Window and Stand Pipes and Storm Shelters tell our family’s tornado story. They’re novels based on true stories about tragedy and hope and butterfly people and God’s mercy and grace in the storm. (You can buy them on this website or in local bookstores.)

But we are Joplin. We all have a story. I hope you’ll share yours here. We’d love to hear it.

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