Rest Stop (Monday) … tornado tragedy

Lautermilch, journey, life, tragedy, Newtown, shooting, stress, sorrow, hope, God, Jesus
Artist: John Lautermilch

Those who have followed my blog postings, and those who know me, are aware of my fascination and study of the weather, primarily the study of tornadoes and super-cell thunderstorms.  In earlier posts I have explained the origin of my fascination, but hearing now what has happened in OK, especially the deaths of so many young children, there are no wise words or explanations for the families and friends effected by the devastating tornado.  I am obviously saddened by the loss of life, but also saddened that such a tragedy need happen.  My fascination for the weather was born from fear; a fear turned toward study so that in knowledge I (others) could be safe.  Why do I continue to study storms?  So that, hopefully one day, this tragic story need not be re-told.

At such a tragic time, let us unite our thoughts and prayers with our fellow brothers and sisters in OK.  And, most importantly, cling to our loved ones, turn to our God, and support each other as best we can.

My faith and relationship with my God offer me a comfort and a hope, but it does not explain “why”.  I don’t feel it is proper at this time for me to post a detailed discussion on what I mean by the “why”, but suffice it to say, I urge you to find a way to share some good and love in your section of the world.

Below is a quote that I have used often in my own life as I have reflected on tragedy.  In my time as a hospital chaplain and a counselor I have been witness to societal and personal tragedy in the lives of those to whom I was ministering.  A life lesson I began to learn is that sometimes words fail us, and when that happens all we can do is offer a ministry of presence; simply being with another in silence.  This silent presence binds us to each other in a sense of deep comfort and compassion.  This evening, in your silence and reflection, allow this quote from Hanna Hurnard‘s “Hind’s Feet on High Places” to speak to you, deeply in your heart, encouraging you to action rooted in compassion and love.

“Therefore I begin to think, my Lord, you purposely allow us to be brought into contact with the bad and evil things that You want changed. Perhaps that is the very reason why we are here in this world, where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let You teach us so to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is really the only satisfactory way of dealing with evil. Not simply binding it so that it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good.”

Unfortunately, I have had to write quite a few blog posts on coping with tragedy and suffering.  Click here or a list of those reflections.

…continue the conversation…

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5 thoughts on “Rest Stop (Monday) … tornado tragedy

  1. I suppose there is something in me that views the Oklahoma tragedy as a message from God. This event will affect everybody in one way or another: the religious, the spiritual, the nonbelievers, the ones who have been stricken and the ones who see it only as they surf their t.v. channels. Consciously or subconsciously, they will feel the power of nature which I cannot help but interpret as the wisdom of God – not an evil bashing but a necessary measure to shake people up a bit, to test their faith, to strengthen their beliefs, to make them stop and think in a world that has forgotten the peace and knowledge that comes with reflection.

    I bow to Chris as a theologian – I am far from that. But when these events happen, and they have happened close to me (living in downtown New York not far from the World Trade Center bombing in 2001 and having beachside property in the direct and ruthless path of Hurricane Sandy), I have been spared devastation. Why? Is nature just some tempestuous storm that curls and twists and steals what it can or is there a method beyond its irrationality? I prefer to think everything is part of God’s plan. Am I wrong?


  2. I fear that this is a man-made tragedy, like all the other storms caused by global warming, which no-one seems to want to tackle.
    As long as we destroy forests,nearly 90 per cent of the world’s forests have gone – let desertification spread, use fossil fuels which have now caused carbon levels to rise to those of Pleiostine age, millions of years ago, we will have these weather disasters.
    It saddens me that people should attribute these tragedies to the Divine Source which is Love.


    1. It too saddens me when people blame God for tragedy. God is love, as I believe in faith. This is why I chose the quote I did since the sentiment is not one of blame, rather, one of action and hope for us all. I appreciate your comment!


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