Lord willing, I’ll be in Woodward, Oklahoma by this evening (Tuesday) to visit some friends. Early Sunday morning a tornado hit this small town and six people entered eternity, with more than two dozen injured and many homes destroyed.
I’m not going because of the tornado; this trip was planned several weeks ago. But a tornado came, and I know it can raise questions about the goodness of God.
The family I’m visiting is rock-solid in their understanding of God’s goodness and sovereignty over all things. But what of the others I will meet, if even only once? I’m assuming God will present opportunities to speak of his goodness in all things, including the hardest of things.
Just a few weeks ago Pastor John wrote on this very subject after tornadoes claimed 38 lives. And he reminded me there is always a greater purpose God has in mind:
Therefore, God’s will for America under his mighty hand, is that every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every person of every religion or non-religion, turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus rules the wind. The tornadoes were his.
But before Jesus took any life in rural America, he gave his own on the rugged cross. Come to me, he says, to America — to the devastated and to the smugly self-sufficient. Come to me, and I will give you hope and help now, and in the resurrection, more than you have ever lost.
If there’s one thing I’ve experienced and learned about suffering, it is that suffering people hold credible other people who have suffered, even if the circumstances of their suffering are very different. Maybe God will use our Paul, again, to help people see we aren’t playing around with religion, but clinging to Jesus. Maybe he’ll help them see Jesus.
So, please pray for Woodward, Oklahoma. And please pray for me, that God would let me be useful while I’m down there, for his glory and for the ultimate, eternal comfort of hurting people.