A Could Have Been Tragedy

It's been almost 24 hours.  Our day started like most - breakfast, cartoons, and a few cuddles.  We  had a playdate with a friend.  We had lunch with daddy and then came home for nap time.  

And then the skies turned dark.  The low growling thunder started, and I started wondering if the little one would wake up to the thunder that I knew was coming.  She quickly woke up with a loud "uh-oh" and we talked through how silly the sky was for talking so loud.  Once I had her calm & playing after a way too short nap, I immediately pulled up the 'Find-A-Friend' app on my phone.  

Because I knew the weather was nasty out there, and my parents were driving.  My grandmother always would call to check to make sure her people were "where they were supposed to be", and I guess the need to do so genetically passed to me.  

My dad works about 4 hours down the road a few days every other week, and I don't love that he spends so much time in the car, amongst other things, but he's quickly approaching retirement.  My mom traveled with him this week and they were supposed to leave Virginia Beach late that afternoon to head home.  At lunch before the storms set in, I checked that very same app and saw that they were already on the road.  What a relief. 

Snap forward to mid-storm after our nap time wake up.  I'm seeing reports of a tornado along the very same highway my parents are traveling, and I hadn't yet heard from them that they were home.  The tornado & the destruction left in it's wake was only 20 minutes from home.  That may not seem so close, but once someone you love is in that path it feels like it's so close you could almost touch it.

We live in Virginia.  I've lived through many a hurricane, snowstorm, and the occasional tornado, but certainly not tornados, and certainly not in February.  We don't have sirens, and frankly if it wasn't for Twitter and Facebook I probably wouldn't have known until the evening news what had happened.

I can't say that I can think of a time where I doubted divine intervention, but I know it when I see it.  Thankfully my parents made it home in what I see as the perfect window of time.  There was another tornado closer to the beach, and they might have been in it's path if they had left at the time they expected. What it really boils down to is that I can't begin to understand why God's plan includes tragedies, but I have to have faith & know they are part of His purpose.  And I don't get to know today what that purpose is - but I choose to trust Him in it.  Good. Bad. Ugly.  All of it.

I asked my dad why he decided to head home so many hours earlier than planned.  He was worried about the weather, but couldn't really nail down why he felt like they should leave.  If they had left 30 minutes later, I may have lost my parents.  The little one may have lost grandparents. I almost just can't even process that. But I am choosing to think about it because it is huge reminder that God intervenes in even the minutia of our lives.  Sometimes those decisions that seem so insignificant in the moment can end up altering the course of our lives.  I'm taking this as a reminder to listen to His direction. Even when I think I'm too busy to slow down to hear Him.  Even when I think what He's asking me to seems like it can wait. God is so good - why should we ever put Him on pause?  

My relief doesn't compare to the emotions others in my community are facing.  There are lost loved ones.  Families without homes.  Lots of people I am sure are asking why.  I can't answer their questions, but His Word tells us that He is always with us.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

Gleaning for the World is an organization located just down the road from where the tornado touched down and they are already there being the hands & feet of Jesus to the community.  You can support their efforts at their website.  If nothing else, will you join me in praying for those affected big or small by yesterday's change in the weather?  I pray that my words will be a longstanding reminder to me (& maybe for you) to never take for granted His provision and divine intervention.