Whenever a natural disaster strikes, the God haters come out of the woodwork blaspheming Him for not intervening and saving everyone or chalking it up as one more proof that He doesn't exist. The tornado in Moore, OK is no exception. On one atheist's blog, vitriolic comments blaming God were legion. But the reality is, Moore proves the power of God, because despite the tragedy and the devastating material loss the outcome is a miracle. The 1.3-mile wide tornado swept through the town leveling 13,000 homes, but the death toll as of yesterday was 24! That is nothing short of a miracle.
And the people of Moore, a working class city where "churches outnumber bars", are already rebuilding. As one local resident said, “In California you have earthquakes, in New York, you have hurricanes. Everywhere you’ve got something. We just choose this over everything else. It’s a good place to live. It’s home.” As one Facebook user said in a video he posted showing his home before and after the tornado, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." Many who spoke to the media after the tornado attributed their survival to God.
One elderly woman describing what happened expressed her sorrow that her little dog was under the rubble. Just at that moment he popped his head out from the ruins. Her tearful response as they were reunited was to say she thought God had only answered one prayer, that she be all right, but he answered both prayers. Her other was for her little dog. It was a touching scene.
Stories are coming in all over about the heroes of Moore: about teachers who shielded their students with their bodies and a nurse who wheeled a mom and her newborn baby down to the hospital cafeteria where they protected the infant between them as they hugged and prayed.
And then there are the stories from those on the ground helping in the aftermath. Mercy Chefs arrived a day after the storm with hot meals. Steve Elliott of Grassfire joined them to help describing his experiences:
Yet the most amazing thing of all that I saw yesterday was not the storm's wrath but the unwavering resiliency and hope in the hearts of the people of this community.
One man was standing over the ruins of his mother-in-law's house when I asked him if that was his house. "No, this is my mother-in-law's house," he told me. Then he pointed to the left and said, "My house is by that white truck."
I looked in the direction he pointed. There was no house by the white truck. It had been leveled by the storm. He then told me he had come back to get his employee badge out of his destroyed truck so he could go back to work.And that's what the people of Moore are doing. Getting to work to clean up and rebuild. They are the salt of the earth. So join in praying for these courageous folks. They illustrate what's really important -- not the stuff we own, but the stuff we're made of!
You can do something practical by helping Mercy Chefs feed folks while they clean up. To feed the hungry is the first corporal work of mercy. And of course pray for all the families impacted. May God give them courage and peace as they put their lives and homes back together.