Sadness, Loss, and Hope

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I’m emotionally raw. Staying up too late last night watching coverage of the rescue and recovery efforts in Moore hasn’t helped that.

I know I don’t talk about it much these days, but Oklahoma is near and dear to my heart. I spent 4 years of growth there, making lots of memories, getting to know lifelong friends, and (occasionally) studying.

In 1999, I was still living in Kansas, where we experienced our own May 3rd tornado. When I moved to Norman (one suburb over from Moore) in 2001, I remember watching the community grow and rebuild after that tornado with the highest recorded winds in history. Then in 2003, during final’s week, a tornado hits Moore again as we huddled up in our dorm fifteen minutes away.

When I heard yesterday’s storm was headed to Moore again, I couldn’t believe it. How does a community as small as Moore handle yet another storm? To see tragedy strike anywhere isn’t easy, but it’s not hard to think of it as just a news story.

After being away from the area for 8 years, I don’t have too many friends there anymore. Still, I know these people, these neighborhoods, these landmarks. For me, this was not one of the things you think, “Oh, that’s sad” and immediately turn your attention elsewhere.

Hearing about the school struck with a direct hit of this massive tornado made me instantly think of Newtown. It wasn’t long before the news coverage went there as well. To the news  anchors, it was the heroic acts of the teachers in the face of imminent death that was the connecting link. There’s definitely a story there.

But more than that, I pondered the link between the two as consequences for sin. Please read this carefully, because sometimes statements like this can be misunderstood and/or stripped of their context. I know others still have made statements like this and have meant that natural disasters are a direct judgment on specific people for specific sins. That’s not what I’m saying here.

Both cases like Newtown and natural disasters are caused by sin. In the case of the former, it’s the individual(s) perpetrating the crime who are sinning, following our first father and the sin nature that is in each one of us. But natural disasters, too, are caused by sin.

Because of the original sin (and each and every one thereafter), we live in a fallen world where such things as super-tornadoes can and do happen. Not primarily as “acts of God” (though they are within the sovereignty of God) but as indirect “acts of man.”

Were those affected by this storm more guilty than you or me? No. We all bear the guilt.

At the same time, through the death of the perfect Son of God on our behalf, we have the right to draw near to the One who comforts and heals. I pray that during this time of loss and tragedy more people will be drawn towards the only One who can provide eternal relief to our sad plight.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

I shameless borrowed that illustration from Facebook. If you made it, let me know and I’d be happy to credit you or take it down. Thank you.

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