We awoke Tuesday morning to the news of the devastating tornadoes that swept through Middle Tennessee very early that morning and left incredible destruction in its wake. And sadly the loss of many lives.
At least 25 people were killed. And dozens are still missing. Many are displaced because their homes were destroyed. Particularly heart breaking was the news of a young couple, Josh and Erin Kimberlin and their little boy Sawyer who died as a result
Another familyMatt and Macy Collinsand their infant daughter suffered severe injuries when the storm destroyed their home and also took the life of the daughter, Hattie.
We lived in Middle Tennessee for 11 years and know many people in the area where the tornadoes struck. And we’re friends with those who lost loved ones. It hurts to hear this terrible news.
My friend, Wilson Adams, author of Courageous Living Books, who lives in Murfreesboro, succinctly expressed my feelings when he posted on facebook, “I hate death. Although death comes to all, it’s the timing that hurts the most.”
“And…the seeming randomness.”
“And…the unanswered questions.”
Why? We cry in our pain. Why me? Why them? Why now? Why this way?
Yes, like Job of old, who experienced the death of his children, the loss of his wealth, and the physical affliction coupled with the mental and emotional pain, we search for answers.
It all seems so senseless.
Yes, I hate death. I hate the sorrow it brings. I hate the emptiness it leaves. I hate the relationships it ruptures. I hate the burden it bears.
Yet, death ever lurks. Looking over our shoulder. Sneering. Leering. Waiting to strike. Leaving its hurt. And about the time we’ve had some healing, death invades our homes and hearts again.
These kind of tragedies shake us up. And remind us of the reality of the fallen world in which we live. That our time here is temporary. And life is transitory.
I agree that the unexpectedness and timing of death is often the most unnerving, unsettling, and upsetting. But, Wilson was right when he wrote, “In times of tragedy, we must turn toward God, not run from Him.”
The Bible encourages when we feel hurt and experience suffering to look to the “Father of mercies.” He is “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:4). God knows our hurt. Hears our cry. And feels our pain. “Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
A friend commented to me last night how these tragedies often bring out the best in people. Volunteers are descending on Middle Tennessee to help with the cleanup. Go Fund Me accounts are being set up to help with medical, living and housing expenses. As well as funerals.
It’s an opportunity for us to model the character of Christ. While we can’t remove the hurt, we can offer a helping hand. Show compassion. And express our sympathy.
We all can’t do everything. But we all can do something. We can pray. Pray for the families mourning the death of loved ones. Pray for those who are recovering from physical injuries. Pray for those who lost homes, businesses and all their material possessions.
These tragic tornadoes are an abrupt reminder that life is fragile. And none of us are exempt from sickness, suffering and sorrow. Pain is a part of life.
And the specter of death ever looms, lurking over our homes. And whether is comes calmly. Or strikes suddenly and catastrophically. It will come. Sooner. Or later.
Indeed, these experiences can either make us bitter or better. The choice is yours.
In the meantime, comfort and encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
If you want to help with the funeral expenses for the Kimberlin family, click this Go Fund Me link.
To help the Collins family with living, rebuilding, and funeral expenses, click here.
To help people in Cookeville and Putman County, the Bank of Putman County has set up a disaster relief fund to help impacted families. 100% of the donations will go toward those who are in need. Click here for info.