IT LOOKS LIKE A WAR ZONE. A friend and member of the Caribbean Vision Ministries Board of Directors sent me this email in reference to the tornado that hit Brookville, Ohio the city where he lives. “Thanks Chuck. Our community can use the prayers. Pictures don’t do it justice. An older plat, next to the high school, with hundreds of homes in town looks like a war zone. It does resemble Haiti in many ways. Stuff everywhere. Trash everywhere. No power. The difference is most of these people have relatives, friends, and money to survive. Lots of heavy equipment and people to use it. (My wife and I) went in town last night and just put gloves on and I took my chainsaw to start removing debris. The community is incredible in its response. People are everywhere trying to help. A lot of the times people just need someone to tell them what to do. As many people just kind of sit there looking at the disaster and don’t know where to start. I was asked about every 45 minutes if I needed food or water by some volunteer person when I was working. So it’s devastating but we will survive and move on. Hopefully this turns people to look at their lives and dwell on God and forces them to think about life and their eternal state a little. God is always good.”
A Pastor friend of mine in Brookville responded to my email to him in this manner, “Thanks for praying-please continue! There is still no water in Brookville, but we hope to have that tomorrow. Electricity will be out for those hardest hit for quite some time. M.W.’s home was severely damaged, although it is in better shape than many around her. Probably 50 or so homes were pretty much destroyed in that neighborhood. I’m seeing believers in Christ and the community putting forth a great effort to help people. I think it’s going as well as it can right now. Thanks for checking in.” Another Pastor friend in Brookville sent me this text, “Thank you for checking in. The tornado touched down a few blocks from where we live. No one in the congregation was injured. Only one person had damage to their house but all are safe. Was very thankful for our safety and for the churches response to help those in need. Praise God for it all. I can only imagine the devastation that Haiti saw with the earthquake a few years ago.”
Bad things do happen to good people. Tornados do cause disruption and destruction for Christians and non-Christians. Places where people have lived for a life-time can be destroyed in an instant. Most of the time we do not know why God allows these disasters to happen but as my friend said, “Hopefully this turns people to look at their lives and dwell on God and forces them to think about life and their eternal state a little.” As James said, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes,” (James 4:14 NIV). Preparation for eternity is brought home with a bang when a tornado passes through and is a good reminder that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Romans 10:13 NIV). A theme I noticed from my three friends is that people surrounded by disaster openly practiced the “golden rule” as given to us by Jesus, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” (Matthew 7:12 NIV). The community didn’t need prompting they just put on gloves and went to work, neighbor helping neighbor. The people of Brookville are good people and part of the town may have been devastated but I am sure they will survive and move on. God is always good. And sometimes all of us on the outside and removed from the situation can only pray. But prayer does have power and God is always listening.