By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – April 24, 2016) — “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”—Psalm 46:1 (NIV).
As I finished eating my supper, I listened to the ongoing storm coverage on television. Tornado warnings had been issued for several northeastern Oklahoma counties, including mine. While I am not afraid of the storms, I do follow the advice given by those who are more experienced than I am in these matters. When the weather forecaster urged Rogers County citizens to take cover, I didn’t hesitate.
The final warning I heard before heading to my master bedroom closest was a tornado had been sighted heading to Claremore and would strike at 8:11 p.m. Unless the tornado changed its route, my neighborhood was right in its path.
As I huddled with my puppy under a blanket in the closet, my cell phone pinged repeatedly with text messages from friends. “Are you watching the weather report?” “Are you okay?” “Are you taking cover?”
I answered a few messages and ignored others because my cell battery was low. I tried to comfort my dog. I had entered the closet at 7:45 p.m. Minutes seemed like hours as I listened to the storm sirens blasting a warning.
I began to pray but before I asked for God’s protection, the Holy Spirit brought to mind something that had been bothering me all day. The day before I’d had a misunderstanding with a friend. Our stubbornness had led each of us to blame the other. We had ceased communication. However, my heart knew I needed to ask God for forgiveness before I could ask Him to keep me safe.
I prayed and was overcome with peace. I continued to pray in the silence. Then, I heard the wind pick up. Debris pounded my house and I heard a loud crash on the other side of the wall where I had taken refuge. Although my heart was racing, I knew I was not alone. Psalm 91:1 says, “Whoever rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One.”
As quickly as the storm had hit, it abated. All was silent. I lay still until my phone rang. When I answered, a friend asked if I were okay. I replied with a yes, but I knew my house had been hit by the tornado. When he asked about the damage, I told him I didn’t know. I was afraid—afraid to leave my safe haven to assess the storm aftermath. I didn’t know what I would find.
Finally, I gained the courage to walk into the unknown. As I gazed at the interior of my house, I was stunned. A gaping hole in the ceiling revealed the sky above. Debris littered the floor and cabinet tops throughout the kitchen, dining room and living area. The cover of darkness, however, prevented me from seeing the full damage outside.
Then, I recalled what the psalmist said in 46:1. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
(Note from the author: This is the second of a three-part series.)
PHoto captions: 1) Tornado damage. 2) Carol Round.
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