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Chris Carpenter
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A Twister Full of Miracles

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - The heavy rain pelted heavily against my quickly dampening coat as I stared down at the disaster zone from a highway overpass.  Just an hour earlier, the devastated and ravaged remains I was now observing were nothing short of a quiet, bucolic neighborhood on a dreary Monday afternoon.

My wife was somewhere amidst the rubble that remained from a strong category three tornado that ripped through our town.  I wanted to rush to her, comfort her, tell her I loved her and everything was going to be alright.  But I couldn’t.  The local and state police had locked down the disaster zone due to open gas lines, downed power lines, and enough hazardous debris to fill a city dump.  Furthermore, there was speculation that another tornado could touch down at any time.

You always think this only happens to other people in distant towns but now it was happening to my own family.

I felt so helpless.  I knew she was down there somewhere – battered, bruised, and longing to go home.  So, there I stood, crying in the rain.  It took me a couple of minutes to pull myself together but when I did I called out to the One who had pulled me from other types of wreckage so many times before.

“Lord, just tell me what to do!  Do I try to sneak past the police to get into the disaster zone?  Do I just stand here looking at the shattered dreams that are in my line of sight?  What?”

In the cacophony of wailing sirens I felt the buzz of my cell phone in my pocket.  I fished it out to see who was calling me.  It was the familiar number of our day care lady. 

“Oh no, I forgot Zachary!” I shouted to myself.  My wife usually picked up our three year old son every day.

The buzzing cell phone was indeed our day care lady who relayed a highly important message.  Yes, my son had been forgotten at day care but she also told me my wife had left a cryptic voice mail message just minutes earlier to say she was cut badly and was being treated at a nearby hospital.  Praise God, she was alive!  And yes, our day care provider was willing to keep my son overnight if necessary.  Praise God times two!

It is a miracle that my wife is alive.  The tornado that cut a ten mile swath through the heart of our town was right on her heels that day as she was traveling to pick up our son after work.  The funnel cloud actually clipped her mini-van and rolled her end over end five times before coming to rest on its wheels.    

The violent impact of 160mph winds hitting what had become a steel survival chamber ripped my wife from her fastened seatbelt and hurled her into the back seat.  Somewhere along the way the mini-van rolled over a 15 foot tall tree.  We believe God placed that tree in her path to slow down what had become a human washing machine spinning out of control.  Most of the windows were smashed out, the roof had collapsed, and three of the tires were flat but my wife had somehow survived!

The hospital did a precautionary C.T. scan and determined there were no internal injuries.  She has a gash on her leg that required eight stitches and a nasty cut on her hand that needed two more.  My wife is bruised and shaken but is going to be fine.  We are just praising God that she made it through this!        

How many of you have ever received a call saying your spouse or loved one has been injured in a tornado or some other catastrophic event?  For those of you who have, you know exactly what I am talking about.  If you cannot answer yes to my question consider yourself fortunate.  Rational thoughts become irrational, hope often succumbs to doubt, and peace gives way to paralyzing fear.

Ashamedly, I have always been cautious and even skeptical about miracles.  Call me a Thomas but I always like to take a wait and see approach to make sure such divine intervention is real.  Too often I have witnessed people dropping their crutches in zestful glee only to see them back wallowing in pain a few weeks later. 

That day, I witnessed a miracle involving not only my wife but an entire community.  More than 100 homes were destroyed by this terrible twister, a shopping center was completely demolished, and hundreds of cars were tossed upside down like they were toys.  But not a single person perished in the onslaught.  Only three people were admitted to the hospital and all were subsequently released within 24 hours. 

Furthermore, the tornado missed a church’s day care center with more than 100 children still inside by less than 300 yards.  It eluded an elementary school concluding its day by less than 200 yards.  The twister delivered only minimal damage to our only local hospital.

That day, I witnessed a miracle in my own family.  I also witnessed a miracle in the town I call home.  But interestingly enough, I have discovered that beyond a shadow of a doubt God truly is a God of Miracles.
In Habakkuk 3:18-19, it is written, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

No matter how dark the day, for God’s people there is a glorious future.  Faith that our todays and tomorrows are in God’s hands gives us reason to rejoice, knowing He is our strength.

When we walk in rough places we need not fear.  We can radiate joy and gladness amidst the shadows, as lustrous diamonds which sparkle brighter the more the cuts.  Hardship and gloom can bring forth confidence and strength.

Never again will I say, “Miracle … what miracle?”  Through a strange twist of fate I have discovered God does perform miracles … even in my own backyard.

Tell me what you think

* Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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