Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What a Night!

I survived a tornado last night!

I grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and have spent much of my life in Texas and Oklahoma, in the vast, beginning stretches of the infamous "Tornado Alley," but I had to come to Tennessee to experience my first genuine tornado up-close . . . and an F-4 tornado at that!!!

I am in Jackson, Tennessee, where I have been attending the lectureship at Freed-Hardeman University. As you have probably heard, Jackson, and many other areas in Tenessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi, were hit hard by tornados last night and into this morning. The tornado that struck Jackson came right over the motel where I am staying. Fortunately, it had lifted back into the clouds at the precise moment it came over us. It had been on the ground as close as 2 miles to the west of my motel, destroying a small community and killing 2 people. It then touched down again just a mile NE of the motel, on the campus of Union University, destroying several buildings (including dormitories) and entrapping dozens of students. Fortunately, there were only the two deaths in Jackson; unfortunately, at least 54 deaths are attributed to all of the storms across the south.

The randomness of these storms is what has struck me the most today. How the Days Inn where I am staying was not damaged, while destruction can be found to the west and east of us, amazes me. I feel very lucky (no, blessed), and my heart goes out to those who suffered a much different experience.

The power of nature puts a lot into perspective. What takes men many months and years of labor and expense to build, the forces of nature can rip apart in a matter of seconds! Treasure what really matters in life . . . the people God gives us to love and be loved . . . and, yes, that relationship that far surpasses all others . . . with God Himself.