The stories of heartbreak and loss from the devastating storms in Alabama continue to pour in. Our church has many friends in one of the hardest hit areas outside of Birmingham. A number of the families in that community have lost all their possessions – even their businesses. Some have also lost loved ones.
Tom Lee, father of thirteen, lost his life when his home collapsed on him and his family during the tornado. His wife and most of their children were trapped under the rubble for hours before friends (who had also lost their homes) arrived from two miles away to help. Three of the children were hospitalized. Miraculously, no one had any broken bones (even the daughter who had been pinned under a piano!).
As the storm descended upon this small town, four neighboring families sought refuge together with the Crawford family (whose husband/father helped free the Lee family from the rubble).
LAF writer, Kelly Crawford, who just had her ninth child three weeks ago, and her family, had the only home on the street with a basement. After the storm passed, everyone in the basement was safe, but the home above was completely destroyed. Providentially, Kelly Crawford’s father had a massive heart attack the morning of the storm; so, neither he nor Kelly’s mother were in their home (which was located on the property, and destroyed) when the tornado hit .
My thoughts and prayers have been frequently focused on these two families since the tragedy struck. I think of my friend, Kelly (Generation Cedar), and how thankful she must be as she snuggles her newborn – her husband and all of her children safe. Yet, everything else is gone: Photos, home, vehicles, outbuildings, dishes, wedding gifts, children’s drawings, books, family heirlooms, home business. Still, Kelly’s Husband, Aaron, said, “I don’t care if I get out of here in my underwear…we are alive! I don’t need any of this stuff.” He went on to give the hope of every Christian:
“There is only one thing I know…my God is faithful, gracious and mighty to save. Underneath all the destruction there is a brewing peace that things are going to be OK because of the God I serve. Even while the roads were still blocked, friends, church family and people from all over started pouring in-walking miles through the treacherous darkness and debris to bring in supplies-food, blankets, generators-people even from other states. I am overwhelmed.”
Then my thoughts wander to Mrs. Lee and her family. The Lee family was known for their servant’s heart and generous, sweet spirit. Their godly reputation inspired many. What a day she must have had yesterday, as she struggled to decide where she should be. Three children in the hospital. The other ten, safe, but, traumatized. I’m sure her mother’s heart wanted to gather her children under her wings and comfort them; she must have been so torn. All the while, not able to focus on her own grief. Her beloved is gone to the Lord; and her immediate future is uncertain. Please remember to pray.
While Mrs. Lee’s loss is staggering, she also knows that God is sovereign. An entire second floor home, including a piano, fell on top of this family of 15 people. Not one broken bone. Though God saw fit to take this husband and father home, his wife and children were mercifully spared. God’s purposes are a marvel, as well as a mystery.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
We have set up a fund to help these families and many others. If you would like to participate in this effort, you can send a check to: Providence Church, 401 S. Carol Ave., Morton, IL, 61550. Or, you can use the link below to send your funds immediately. All monies received into this fund will be dispersed to the victims of the storm in Alabama. If you would like your donation to help a specific family, please specify that on your check; or, after donating through the button below, send an email to (service AT providencepeoria DOT org.) specifying the amount and the family you wish to help.
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:34-40