What to do in a Storm

This is an update of a devotional that I wrote about ten years ago in June 1998. There is an enhanced risk for tornadoes in the United States today.

In Mark chapter 4 (vs. 35-41) the Bible tells us of the disciples and Jesus being caught in a storm at sea. The disciples are terrified but Jesus is sound asleep. In their terror the disciples cry out to Jesus, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Jesus “…arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”

Several neighborhoods in Hugo, Minnesota were devastated by a tornado on May 31, 2008. Jeff Janus believes that he was protected in the midst of that horrific destruction. He was outside when the storm suddenly hit but he ran inside because as he says he “…saw people’s houses flying by.” He only had enough time to find his dog and cat and holding one in each arm huddled down in a hallway. The bedroom doors were ripped off but somehow were gently placed on top of him which gave him protection from the falling and blowing debris. The doors protected him even though his home was destroyed. Jeff does not mention praying but it is obvious that he was protected and it may be that someone was praying for him.

Soon after I was married we were living in Oklahoma City in 1970 on Northwest 34th street in a duplex apartment on the top floor. A tornado hit one night causing damage to the south of us, passing over the top of our duplex, and causing damage to the north hitting a motel. My mother-in-law was staying with us that night and we were all three praying. We know that God protected us.

On Memorial Day, the same day the tornado hit Hugo, Minnesota, we also had to go to our storm shelter. We now have storm sirens in our town and they were blown for the first time. Just before going to our shelter looking out of our south window I could see two cloud lowerings that might have been twin tornadoes. I could not see any rotation but weather reports were saying that there was rotation in the cloud. Others in our area later reported that they could clearly see the rotation. We were in our shelter praying when the siren was sounded and I am sure that many others were praying too. Those twin funnels went to the west missing us completely.

The next day I took Jeanie and a group of kids to a children’s camp for the week. By the time we arrived it was obvious that there was a bad storm to the southwest of the camp. The storm appeared to be headed straight for the camp. Of course, everyone was praying about this and when I arrived back home and checked the radar the storm was severe but it appeared to be stalled out. Over the next hour or so the storm began to turn away from the camp and to dissipate. Again, I believe this was an answer to many prayers.

Over the years of living in tornado alley in Oklahoma I remember many times of crying out to God to save me in the midst of storms. I have watched many newscasts of survivors of tornadoes testifying of their faith and of their prayers to God in the midst of the terror.

On Saturday evening, June 13, 1998 it was with a grim fascination that I watched as tornadoes again made their way across our state. Through the advance in technology the tornadoes were watched live. The tornadoes were filmed through cameras on helicopters, spotter vehicles and live cams stationed around the state. As the tornadoes invaded Oklahoma City they skipped seemingly on a random basis from place to place. I watched with fascination as a thin tornado twisted and turned and made a direct hit on a thin sliver of a radio tower. There were only a few minor injuries during this outbreak of twisters.

In the state of Oklahoma at that time there were only two 24-hour contemporary Christian radio stations. One in Tulsa and one in Elk City. There had been three, one in Oklahoma City also, until a week before the storm when a decision was made to drop the station’s Christian format. Was it just a coincidence that one week later a tornado happened to make a direct hit on their radio tower? Could it be that they not only dropped their format but their prayers as well?

One thing is for sure and that is if you are in a storm ask for help from the One who can help you. Whatever kind of storm you may be in whether it is a natural phenomenon or storms that are financial, or emotional, or marital, or substance abuse, or some other traumatic thing – when the storm comes ask the Lord to protect you. That’s what the disciples did and that’s what we need to do too.

(Survival instructions for when the storms blow into your life.)

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *