I watched tornadoes form from the front porch of my friend’s house off Dalton Pike in Cleveland, TN Wednesday the 27th of 2011. We didnt exactly know at the time we were watching and I was shooting that they were tornadoes until the news reports came rolling in! Could it really be true that less than 3 miles down the road entire neighborhoods and a gas station were just GONE?
We had no power and our phones, our only connection to the outside world, were dying so when we heard the all clear from the weather radio (EVERYONE should have one of these in their homes!!! NO exceptions!!!) we decided to drive around the subdivision to charge our phones and survey to see if anyone needed help. Thankfully there were a very few trees down but nothing bad that we could see anyways….in the pitch black silent night. I’m a storm lover! I’ve always wanted to chase them, try to understand God’s amazing power through them, and witnessing all I have witnessed through this tragic chain of storms (I lived in Murfreesboro for over 4 years which has at least a tornado siren a week *may be slight exaggeration* and even with the tornado of April 2008 there this was so much worse!) But never so much devastation for one small town, and so many states! The death toll now hover close to 350 from these series of storms that pounded our area, and with so much death and devastation it’d be easy to say “Where was God?” “There cannot be a God….He’d never let something like this happen!” etc… BUT! THERE IS!
An elderly black woman on The Weather Channel today, from Alabama I believe, in a news report was missing since the storms but was reunited with her daughter today and she raised her hands above her head and was just praising the Lord that someone found her and pulled her out of the rubble! The # of dead may seem astounding BUT the # who made it out alive is even more astounding! Many areas (like ours in Cleveland) don’t have sirens, and most homes seemed to have been without power and therefore, unless they happened to have a weather radio that was charged and ready, were literally “in the dark” when the last and most severe storms came through! They had NO warning! PRAISE GOD….It could have been so much worse!
Touring the devastation and dodging debris on the way to help a friend’s mother sort through what was left of her mom’s home brought tears to my eyes! When we finally arrived in her neighborhood I slowly made my way around the back side of her home and I saw something that reminded me how just AMAZING our God is….a rose bush was untouched! Seriously! I just marveled at the sight! Not 10 feet away was a SPLINTERED Power Pole and trees that had been snapped off like a toothpick….but yet this rose bush remained…Pink and B.E.A.UTIFUL!!! I love the picture….of the sheer destruction behind it and this delicate flower still stands! A testament to the will of the people who survived! We will go on! We will spread beauty in to this world not matter how dire and hopeless it seems….because if a rose can weather a tornado with its petals intact….SO CAN WE! God reminded me of this that dreary morning….and when the dark clouds and sprinkles left and traded for BRIGHT BLUE SKY and puffy white clouds in the afternoon I was reminded yet again….there’s ALWAYS unparalleled beauty after the storm! Like a forest burned new growth bursts forth and before long the ugliness of the fire is forgotten….emotional and physical scars will heal, and as someone said in an interview after the storms ended “if you survived this you can survive anything!”
These images will show the unbelievable power of a storm, but more so, when you see that one house was missed in the midst of others that were totally demolished, that in this world somethings just cannot and will never be explained! You just have to have faith and let God see you through! Never question His will, just look for the beauty after the rain and the triumphs after the pain! Now….Go help your friends and neighbors! Hug them, love them, pray with them, ask them what they need or even better look around and see what they need and take it to them! We have a chance to truly be Jesus to the world…let’s not miss it!
****Please note: NEGATIVE or profane comments WILL be removed! This is meant to be an uplifting post, nothing more!****
And finally last but certainly not least here’s a “video” I created with a lot of the photos I was able to capture Thursday after the storms. The message I believe is clear… There is a God….because It Could Have Been Worse!