Yesterday was a day that I will never forget. Ever.
When I heard last week that Cityreach was going to be headed to Joplin for a day I was so pumped. Cityreach is an awesome thing to begin with, but when I found out they were substituting going to Joplin for a day into their usual team building activities I was ecstatic. But, I am not writing this post to tell you about Cityreach, that will probably come at the end of the week. Cityreach did what we were supposed to do, what God calls us to do. This post is about what God showed me and what God gave me the opportunity to be apart of yesterday. To Him be the glory!
While working in Joplin yesterday I was humbled like I have never been humbled before. You see footage on the news when a disaster happens and you think they are just showing you the worst part and it doesn't look like that everywhere else. Well that's not the case. When we were driving through the parts of Joplin that were hit you saw nothing but piles of debris in all directions. Homes, businesses, schools, you name it; they were leveled. I cannot imagine what it would be like to survive something like that, by the grace of God, and then have to completely start over the next day with nothing but the clothes on your back. I do not think that has ever truly hit me until yesterday.
While driving through the worst part I would catch myself praying without even realizing it. Asking God to be with the people that were in that home or in that business when this happened. I would try and imagine what it would be like to be next to them huddled in a small room so vulnerable compared to these powerful winds that were moving cars right outside their windows. What would I do? I don't think I would be able to do anything. Hopefully I would be crying out to my creator for safety; what more can you do? I cannot wrap my mind around what those people were thinking, feeling, seeing, or saying to each other. As we drove and it just got worse and I began to get a sick feeling in my stomach. These people were just like me. They had a nice home with a closet full of clothes and a car in the garage. And that was taken; in a matter of minutes. That was humbling.
I know this isn't easy to talk about but this town experienced death after death. When I saw all of these homes completely destroyed I would ask myself "how did these people survive?" And when I thought about it I just continued praying for the families that lost mom, or dad, or a child. I asked God to give this city hope, and strength to move forward and keep going. Then God brought to my mind all the people that lived to tell about this event, first hand. All the people that He is going to use through this as part of their testimony to share Christ with others. This brought me joy.
While reflecting on this event and this day I know I have questioned God about events like these, and I am sure there are tons of people that ask "Why would a loving God allow this to happen?" This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. And the best answer I have come up with is, I don't know. I'm not supposed to know. Does it make sense to me? No. How can it? Who am I to ask the creator why he allows what happens to happen? I talked about this same topic two post's down but I think it applies here just as much as it does there. Francis Chan put it this way, "it is like one piece of clay trying to explain to the other piece of clay what the potter is like." I think this is a great analogy. We cannot know. We can only trust that He has a purpose and he has a plan.
Do not stop praying for this city. I feel like when these type things happen we pray for them and we ask our church to pray for them, but then the next Sunday or even the next day we have completely forgotten about it. I promise you that if you get the chance to see it first hand you will not forget and you will not stop praying anytime soon. I am going to leave you with the same scripture as I left you with two post's ago because I can not think of any more fitting.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher that the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts your thoughts" - Isaiah 55:8-9