Yesterday and today I have been riding along with a couple of Disaster Relief workers of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. We have seen where at least one person was killed at a gas station in Copeville, Texas along with whole neighborhoods (as pictured above) in Rowlett, Texas destroyed. The last I heard of the death toll here in North Texas is 11 people and this includes a two-year-old child.
Today, while driving through Rowlett, we witnessed neighbors helping neighbors and companies and volunteers coming to the aid of fellow Texans. People are moving as much of their belongings as they can to storage units and beyond in order to save something–anything. Trees are downed in front yards, on homes and on cars. Cars are strewn about like toys left in the backyard by a little boy. Windows are missing but there is no glass near where the windows were shattered: the tornado sucked even the glass out.
One gentleman that I saw picking up pieces of neighbors’ homes in his front yard seemed stunned. He was walking around wearing a pair of gloves and carrying a green trash bag. His wife was taking pictures of where their wooden fence was stood. It is completely gone with only remnants of where it once stood exposing what is left of their backyard. Others are sweeping the streets clean of nails left behind in shattered pieces of wood. You can hear generators humming as people who are still without power are trying to figure out what to do next.
One of the saddest things that we are hearing from people is that they are uninsured. They do not have homeowner’s insurance. I have no idea why anyone would live in a house without insurance, but they do for whatever reasons. Recovery and disaster relief agencies are in place while insurance adjusters are on scene trying to get things figured out. The authorities are saying that there are so many volunteers in the area that they cannot take anymore as they are simply getting in the way at this point.
We who were spared of the 11 tornados that are reported as touching down in the North Texas area as blessed beyond all measure. While my wife and sons were hunkered down in the bathtub and while our lights flickered here and there, God was with us–our Immanuel.
There are some things for us to know although we may not fully understand them about this type of weather. First, all weather is under God’s control.
When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure, when He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt, then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. (Job 28:25-27)
And how can we forget
Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:26-27)
Second, God alone understands the mysteries of the weather.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. (Proverbs 3:19-20)
Jesus even said
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Solomon, the wisest ever to live, writes
If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things. (Ecclesiastes 11:3-5)
Third, the weather is a demonstration of God’s goodness and mercy. Moses writes
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)
“For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
Next, the weather is a demonstration of God’s direct intervention. Jonah writes
The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. (Jonah 1:4)
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. (Exodus 14:21)
Now there went forth a wind from the LORD and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground. (Numbers 11:31)
The psalmist writes
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the south wind. (Psalm 78:26)
Five, sometimes the weather is an answer to prayer. James the apostle writes
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17-18)
Finally, sometimes weather can cause suffering. Moses writes
Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. (Genesis 31:40)
So all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month on the twentieth of the month, and all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and the heavy rain. (Ezra 10:9)
Job lost everything when strong winds came through his place:
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you. (Job 1:16, 18-19)
Now I do not know why these tornados came. I do not know why hurricanes and tsunamis and other horrific storms take place. I do not know why the sun shines like it does and why the skies can be so blue one minute and then turn dark the next. But I do know the One who controls it all because He is sovereign over all.
I am praying for those affected by these storms.