Apr 17, 2012
Posted by Dale
So for the last week weather forecasters had been warning us there was a severe weather event in the cards for Wichita on Saturday. Lifelong residents of California till three years ago, Ashley and I still get a little nervous about the weather. So I went out and bought lots of supplies and we moved our stuff downstairs to the basement. That night Ashley, our daughter Faith, our four-month-old Frederick and myself were huddled in our basement watching the weatherman point toward the southeastern side of Wichita with news. It would be a direct hit.
Under an overturned sofa and covered in pillows we prayed silently and aloud. Our infant son was screaming and our three-year-old daughter wanted out of our fortress. She wasn’t buying the camp out illusion we tried to paint for her. As we watched the radar and the red circles work their way toward our street I looked at my family and told them I loved them. I told my wife I loved her and the past 8 years had been amazing. The weatherman mentioned our cross street and the power went out.
Our battery-powered lantern cast an eerie glow over our basement and our daughter screamed for release from my grip. She wanted to go upstairs. She didn’t understand. Within a few minutes the hail was beating on our roof, sprinkling down the chimney. Then silence…
Ashley and I looked at each other and braced ourselves and our children. The next noise was unmistakable. Many people describe it as a freight train sound. I am not sure if it sounded like that to us but we knew exactly what it was. Yes, it was very loud. An EF3, wedge tornado was ripping through our street.
After a few minutes of huddled silence our friends called and told us the tornado had moved on to the northeast. My phone suddenly blew up with messages of people who had heard our street mentioned on TV and the radio.
That night I went out around our neighborhood looking for anyone who might need my help. Our street was abuzz with fear, excitement and confusion. Many of the trees on our conjoined street were down including some of my favorite pear trees, which look like they are bursting with popcorn when signaling the start of spring. Further down the street was an office park. The trees there were worse. Gas stations, apartments and grocery stores were also hit. All the power lines surrounding our neighborhood were down. Twisted metal signs looked strewn about. The metal carport covers for the apartment complex were all over, sometimes wrapped up into a ball. I saw a lawn chair in the street.
Somehow our house was fine. We had a couple limbs down in our backyard and our daughter’s trike was in the same place we left it.
So what do I take away from all this? Well, for one, God’s power and strength are beyond comprehension. When the Holy Spirit came upon the Church in Acts It came like a “rushing wind.” I wonder what it sounded like? Would even the sound of the Holy Spirit drive men to their knees like the tornado had to us? One day when I meet the Lord, I wonder if his voice will resonate like an EF4 tornado. Probably and His breath will smell minty fresh.
Also it seems the Tornado skipped around Wichita and somehow no one died. A trailer park was decimated and no one died. Several aircraft companies suffered severe losses but how fortunate the storm was on a Saturday. Many were praying for the safety of Wichita and for that I am grateful. However, at the same time I hope if there were a different outcome we would praise God still. If my house had been destroyed I hope I would praise God. If I died, I hope people would praise God. I know God has me here for a purpose. Maybe He has me here only to learn or maybe he has me here to teach. Either way I see God’s Church stepping up in light of this tornado and I am excited for the outcome. He will be praised in our lives no matter what the circumstance.