Last Wednesday evening a couple of tornadoes blew through Leavenworth. Yes, Kansas is part of "Tornado Alley." We were getting ready for church, when we heard the sirens sound off. We turned on the television and saw that there were tornadoes spotted in Leavenworth County headed east, which is where we were. I sent the family into the basement, and went to the car to go to church.
Perhaps I was being foolish. As I began the ten-minute drive to the church building, I listened to the reports on the radio about two tornadoes headed in my direction. They were tracking one about four miles southwest of Lansing headed northeast. It dawned on me that it was possible that the church building could be in the path of that tornado. Less than a mile from the building, I stopped at an intersection and noticed all kinds of trash, debris, and other junk flying wildly around, suspended about fifty feet in the air. That is when I realized how foolish it was for me to be out. I went to the building in a round about way and arrived safely. I had to get there in case there were people who had came for class that evening. They might not have a key and would not be able to get into the building.
Sure enough, when I had arrived there were cars parked under both the front and back overhangs. I opened the door and we went in. There were initially about eight people or so there. We sat down and began to sing. Slowly, others began to show up as the radio gave the all clear. Eventually, about fifteen to twenty brethren showed up as we continued to sing. I had a devotional ready, but decided under the circumstances to do something else.
I read from the 29th Psalm, which seemed appropriate for the occasion. It speaks of Yahweh's power, and how he is the God of even the storm.
"Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in holy array.
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful, The voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord hews out flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everything says, "Glory!"
The Lord sat as King at the flood; Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace (Psalm 29)."
Even though he is God of the storm, we need not be afraid, but praise him in fear. First of all, we know the God of the storm. We don't just know about him, but we know him as our God. His name is Yahweh, which is usually rendered "LORD" in our English Bibles. He gave us his name so we could personally have a relationship with him and so we could call on him. Second, the text says that Yahweh will give strength to us. Even though the strong trees are being uprooted before his strength, we will remain firmly rooted. Third, even though his "voice" breaks trees and strips forests, this psalm declares that Yahweh will bless us with his peace. Maybe that is why I was able to get into my car and head over to the church building in spite of the storm.
We later learned that the tornado to the south went down Eisenhower road which is less than a mile from the building. There were busted trees where the tornado had been, but we were all safe. Yes, the Lord's voice did thunder that day. Yes, his voice did break many trees, but Yahweh watched over us and gave us peace. No one was hurt.
The Lord is mighty. The Lord is gracious.