Thursday

Tornadoes and the Valley of the Shadow



News footage of the Tuskaloosa tornadoes reminded me of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew on Florida's coast. . . only there was no coastline, only a wide, waterless path of timber and brick that was once a neighborhood.  The images played like a kaleidoscope of pieces swirling around a hub of sorrow -- a man sitting on the front steps of what used to be his home; a woman with her arms wrapped around a damp dog, staring but not seeing; a husband and wife embracing, thankful to be alive . . . and together.

In a voice thick with disbelief and still tinged with fear, I heard one man describe his nightmare.  "My wife and I, we got into the tub, and I laid on top of her, and all we could do was pray."  I pictured that man, loving his wife so much that  he used his body to shield her from the demon that roared over the top of them . "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

With my heart still bruised from Easter and the reminder of the cross, I heard Jesus in that man's voice.  I saw Jesus in that man's actions. We love because He first loved us. . . By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 

Just like that man in Alabama loved his wife sacrificially and was willing to put his body in the path of a tornado to save her, Jesus was willing to sacrifice his sinless body on the cruel cross of Calvary to save me.  Instead of covering me with his arms, He covered me with his blood.  Like that woman emerged from the horror of a tornado safe and whole, I too can one day pass through the valley of the shadow of death and come out on the other side.  Safe and whole.

Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God."  But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

Thank you Jesus, for loving me to death.

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