Is God In Moore, Oklahoma?
Today, at least 51 people were killed after a devastating mile-wide tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma. Homes were destroyed, schools were decimated, and lives are forever changed.
It brings up a range of emotion in me. To be tragically and brutally honest, my first reaction is apathy. My first-born, sin nature responds thus, "Well, another tragedy in the books." Then, the Spirit gently reminds me of the value of life, the tragedy of loss and death, and the depth of love. So my second emotion is hollow remorse for those who died and those who lost a loved one. I feel the pang of death and I mourn it.
It is here where my emotions take an interesting turn. The Spirit of the gracious God who made me, causes me to feel. When before I was numb, now I feel the loss. Yet, then I turn on Him and I ask the question that is clogging up the blogosphere and comment bars everywhere. It is the question that is echoing through hospital rooms, and bouncing through text conversations.
Where was God in all of this?
My heart turns to anger. God, I know you CAN do whatever you want. Why allow this?
I don't want to press the philosophical questions here. I am a pastor. My heart is for people. Theological and philosophical debate is healthy in its right time and place. For me, not now and not here.
Right here in my wave of emotions, God lovingly leads me to the Scripture. It is what He has given me to work through seemingly impassable moments of doubt. It is His self-revelatory letter to the world. It is as if to say, "Behold, your God." So where is God in all of this? For those of you who have friends, family, etc. in Oklahoma this week; this is where God is.
"The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of struggle." Psalm 9:9
"The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, he cares for those who take refuge in Him." Nahum 1:7
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble." Psalm 46:1"In my distress, I called to the Lord, and He heard me." Psalm 120:1
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you should not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:2-3
"in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by" Psalm 57:1b
"Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life." Psalm 54:4
"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Tonight, God is near to Moore, Oklahoma. His promises are true. My last emotion I feel is gratitude. Although I do not fully understand God's plans and purposes, I am grateful for the end that they will bring about.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4
Moore, Oklahoma we are praying for you, that God would visit tonight and comfort your hearts with these words.