I had planned a different topic for today but after the horrendous outbreak and tragedy that occurred all around me all day yesterday and into the night in the form of killer tornado's I decided to change my topic. Thankfully my home was spared as was my life and I never personally witnessed a funnel cloud touching down nor did I have to enter my storm shelter. I thought when I was driving back from Huntsville yesterday that a tree might fall on me so I keep praising God as I drove and asked for protection. But hey it is not about me. There are many who have lost their homes, their livelihoods and two nearby good sized communities are totally without power and water for possibly up to five days but we are fine. So I was thinking about God being a God of comfort. I feel like I wish I could get my Hefty bags and hop in my car and go to this subdivision about 10 miles from here that was literally blown to pieces when a twister touched down. I would love to go hug some of the home owners and offer them help and help pick up the debris from their property. That is how you feel. You see these people crying on the news but in the same breath they were thanking God for sparing their life.
So how do you comfort in a time like this? What about those who lost family members as about 126 people died in these storms in the state of Alabama yesterday. Several deaths were in nearby communities. There are no words to really try to console someone who in one moment had their family member next to them and one moment later in the blink of an eye they are crushed by debris and killed. All you can do is pray and hold them.
Suffering happens in life. It is not possible to go through life without some suffering. Suffering builds character but you certainly do not go up to someone when they have lost a loved one or their house has exploded in an F4 tornado and say "Buck up little soldier. Things will be okay." No, you simply are there for them and just pray. That is all you can do. You can offer help in taking care of things for them but it is best to not say too much. Just pray and give comfort.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says "So we do not look at what we can not see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen." God is with us in good times and bad. I can not explain suffering and trials. I just know suffering does ultimately strengthen us. All of our 'stuff' does not matter anyway in the big scheme of things. What matters are people and our relationship with Jesus. He faced the ultimate suffering by dying a horrible death on the cross.
Praise God even in the storms of life. Do not curse him.
James 1:2-4 says " Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Psalm 23 is often recited at a funeral but it is so much more. In verse four it says "Even though I walk
through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
An F4 tornado may not have struck your community but there are other needs where people need comforted. Friends may be in danger of losing a home, someone you know may have lost a job, a person may have a life threatening disease, a young couple may have lost a baby, and many more scenarios. We will all 'go through' things in life. Each of us is there to help others and not be a kingdom unto ourselves. Look around you today for a need you can fill. Even a simple smile may bring tremendous joy to someone who is suffering.
PRAYER: Lord thank you for seeing us through the 'storms' of life. We know there is always a new tomorrow and things will get better. You comfort as only you can Lord. Work through me to show your comfort to others in a hurting world. In Jesus Name. Amen.