Today marks the 5th anniversary of when we in the South were struck by multiple deadly tornadoes. The following is a post I wrote on April 29, 2011, just two days after the first storms came.
I don’t know who coined the term “tornado alley,” but they need to come up with a new one…
“Tornado Parking Lot”
…or something like that. Tornadoes used to be something that was common only in mid-western, grassland states, right? Didn’t Dorothy and Toto live in Kansas? Well, it seems that tornadoes aren’t just for Kansas, anymore. They have come to like the South.
April 27-28, 2011 will be remembered as the most destructive time in the South since the Civil War. Never in my lifetime have I seen such destruction over such a wide area. Whenever we use to hear of a tornado hitting a city, there would be pictures of one stretch wiped out or damaged. This time, it is whole states involved, not just one city or trailer park, and hundreds of tornadoes.
It can’t be overstated that we in the South need your prayers. There is so much to do and so many who need help. The destruction is so wide-spread that many are overwhelmed with the logistics of providing assistance. All many could do in the first day was put every chainsaw into use clearing trees from roads, drive ways, and off houses. Now, it is the job of the professionals to try to get power lines back up. But with so many displaced, and with electricity scarce, taking care of basic needs for so many will be a monumental task.
Pray for the families of those that are missing. In one town (Ringgold, GA) not far from where I live, at least 26 people were reported missing after a tornado struck a doomed food store. There is no telling where they went. So many others were killed, as well as injured in the destruction.
One thing that never fails to amaze is the tendency of people to come together in a time of need. Being a good neighbor means more than lending forever a cup of sugar or hand tool. Good neighbors help pull a tree off of your roof; help locate your pet; comfort your little kids while you search for survivors; bring a hot meal to workers; donate blood; or, share a home with the homeless. Pulling together is the “neighborly” thing to do.
Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. – 1Cr 10:24 NASB
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” – Gal 5:14 NASB
But before you come to the South, at least the rural parts, make sure you’re a good neighbor. Down here, in times like this, “a friend in need is a friend indeed,” even if he’s a total stranger. On the other hand, you’d better be careful if you’re not on the up-and-up. A few blocks away from my house here in Chattanooga, a local policeman’s house was damaged, along with his car. That night, some looters came around trying to find stuff. The warning I photographed says it all. This ain’t no alley, this is a neighborhood, and we look out for each other.
It could have been far worse. As I drove around yesterday, I can’t tell you how many large trees fell just feet away from family homes. Even though many places suffered damage, many, many more were spared. One could be critical and skeptical about it all, but I choose to praise God. Many more lives could have been lost. Many more could have been injured. I shall stand among the living in the “parking lot” and give Him praise, for in Him do we have hope for tomorrow, and in the tomorrow to come.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. – Rom 8:18 KJV