Like everyone else in our nation, I have been glued to the television screen as the sights and sounds of utter destruction from the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma once again remind all of us that life on this planet is broken.
Time and again, I have heard brave souls give praise to their God as they stand before the microphone of a reporter while all around them is debris and chaos.
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” said one man in a strong, clear voice.
“I thank my Savior Jesus Christ that He has seen fit to let me live to see another day,” said another, hat held in hand.
These words, these attitudes are evidences of people who live their lives walking step by step with the risen Christ. They possess eyes that see beyond the pain and heartache and trinkets of this world to the coming world where Jesus will wipe away every tear from the eyes of His people and will make all things wonderfully, blessedly, and beautifully new.
This morning I was reading Isaiah 49. The Israelites were suffering greatly and in the midst of their pain, they accused God of forsaking and forgetting them.
I imagine that is what some of the victims of this tornado are feeling this morning, particularly those who have lost loved ones.
This was His response to them: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture) of you on the palm of each of My hands; O (people) your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:15-15, emphasis added).
The word “indelibly” means: “cannot be eliminated, changed, erased, forgotten, or removed.”
The word “continually” means: “without cessation or intermission, unceasingly, always.”
When storms (either literal or figurative) strike our lives, leaving desolation and devastation in their wake, it is easy and tempting to think that there has been a terrible mistake, that our Savior has forgotten and forsaken us.
Nothing could be further from the truth….despite what our circumstances and feelings tell us.
Our situations are continually before His eyes and on His heart.
Jesus said, “I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, on every occasion) to the very close and consummation of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).
This verse is His promise that He is with us on every occasion. He has not abandoned the people of Moore, Oklahoma.
I was reminded of another man who lived during a time when his homeland had been reduced to utter ruins. His name was Nehemiah. As he looked at the rubble around him and began to rebuild, he wrote these words, “Be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your Strength and Stronghold.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
In the original Hebrew, the word stronghold means: “place of safety, protection, refuge.”
We would do well to remember that true joy, security and safety will never be found in this temporary world. Any of our possessions that we tend to rely so heavily upon for status and support can be taken from us in an instant. Our good health can vanish with a diagnosis or a car accident. Our bank account could be wiped out.
Ironically, the things that we can see turn out to be flimsy and impossible to keep.
Yet, the Person we cannot see (Jesus) turns out to be our most solid and sure foundation; our source of unlimited strength, our only safe and truly secure place of refuge in a broken world.
Whatever storm is blowing in your life right now, cling to Him. He will never leave, fail, or forsake you. You can count on it.
Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?…Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life not angels nor principalities, not things impending and threatening, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:35, 37-39
Pray that the people of Oklahoma whose lives have been forever changed by this tornado will turn to Jesus for the hope, comfort, and power they so desperately need.