Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, May 20, 2013

Prayers for the Victims in Oklahoma

Tragic. That's the best word I can find to describe the devastation caused by tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. The destruction is otherwise indescribable. We are praying for all those who lost property and loved ones, but especially for those who lost children.

I've already noticed people questioning, directly and indirectly, why God would do such a thing, or allow it to happen. With so much damage and dozens of lives lost, even dozens of kids' lives snuffed out, folks around the country are asking these questions, lots of folks. A lot of people who have never experienced this kind of tragedy, people who can't imagine how bad these people are hurting, are asking these questions. But grieving parents know. Because on an individual basis, our loss was as devastating as these tornadoes.

I can't explain why something like this occurs, what God's role is in it, or why He allows such events to take place, but I can empathize with the victims. No. I wasn't a victim of a tornado, but I'd gladly sacrifice every material thing we own to have my daughter back. And that's the thing for the victims in Oklahoma. For those who lost children, that's all that will matter. The material losses won't mean a thing. I can't explain God's mind or His motive, but I can tell folks what I, as a grieving parent believe.

First, I'm not convinced that God "did" this. I can say that because I believe that Satan walks this earth and does everything he can to turn us from God, to lead us away to do his bidding. He will do ANYTHING to tempt us to challenge God, to deny God, and to hate God.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." -- 1 Peter 5:8

The news is now reporting at least 24 kids were consumed inside their elementary school when it suffered a direct hit. That means 24 new sets of grieving parents are facing a life of questions. Who would they have married? What would their kids be like? What would they do for a living? What would they accomplish? It's an infinite string of questions that pop up constantly, and will for the rest of our lives. Evil. That's what the death of so many kids is, just pure evil. But I believe God is incapable of evil, that Satan is responsible for every evil act on the face of the earth, each one an act attempting to turn us away from God.
"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;" -- James 1:13

As for words of comfort, the only words that comforted me after losing Amanda came directly from the Word of God. Several verses gave me the hope and strength to go on. These verses showed me that none of us are promised an easy time here, none of us are promised fairness on earth. Christians and non-Christians alike are going to experience loss as long as we live on this planet. But those who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ can know that He died so that we might live, so that whatever we lose down here we'll gain that and more when our time here is over.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -- John 16:33

The very best part is that, once you place your faith in Jesus Christ, you can rest assured that you can and will see our children again. The time we'll spend with them when we go will be forever, so much longer than the limited time we'd have spent with them here, even if they weren't taken too soon. This was one of the questions I had immediately after Amanda was killed. I had heard my entire life that we would join our loved ones again, but I had never read it in the Bible. I'd never seen it in black and white.
" 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." -- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

Nothing will make the pain go away. I tell people the pain from losing Amanda will never go away, never diminish. It's simply a pain that I have to get used to. I have to go on living, until the Good Lord calls me home. The pain will always be there. Always. But I know one day I will see her again, and I'll spend eternity with her in a place where there is no pain and no tears.

To the victims of these violent storms, I cannot fix what is broken. I cannot replace what is lost. But I can and will pray that God will give you all peace and strength in time.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of trying to understand 'why', I've continued to learn and lean on God's character. He is the author of LIFE and LOVE, not death and destruction - you are right, that is Satan.


All comments are subject to moderation. Comments containing hateful speech, profanity, or other inflammatory remarks will be rejected.