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Good vs. Evil

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Eventually I’m sure I’ll quit talking about tornadoes, but it’s all anyone eats, sleeps, and breathes around here these days. I literally dream about it each night. Wherever you look, there are reminders.

A ridiculously bruised woman on crutches at the doctor’s office, surrounded by nurses listening to the tale of how she survived.

FEMA and Red Cross workers, something I never thought I’d see here.

Signs everywhere indicating donation drop-off locations.

Blood Assurance offices,with lines out the door, no longer accepting donors for the day because they don’t have the time and staff to get to any more people.

Church parking lots bursting with the cars of volunteers, donors, and victims seeking a meal or basic necessities.

Shopping carts filled with water, peanut butter, toilet paper and other items that you know the shopper isn’t purchasing for personal use.

It’s incredible.

I saw my hometown for the first time yesterday – the downtown area that was hit with the F-4 tornado. It looks like a war zone. Aluminum siding is peeled back like a sardine can top. Windows are shattered, buildings gutted. It looks like a bomb exploded in most of the building.

You can see the path that the tornado took, clearly marked by bent, twisted, uprooted trees.

You learn what compassion is. In the words of the pastor of the church where we’ve been volunteering, “Compassion is pity and sympathy that gives rise to action.

Compassion isn’t just feeling sorry for someone; it’s feeling sympathy that makes it impossible for you to do nothing. You have to do something, no matter how big or small – donate money, give blood, purchase and deliver supplies, volunteer your time, box up food donations, clean up debris, cut and clear away fallen trees, wipe off tables or clean bathrooms at the relief center, pray.

I’ve been amazed to see the love of people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much bottled water in one place as I’ve seen at that church this week.

I’ve seen God send a moving truck full of nearly every single item what was on the “supplies needed” list.

I’ve seen people moved to action by compassion.

I’ve also seen the darker side of human nature. News reports of people camping out  all night for the sole purpose of guarding their decimated property from looters. Police restricting those who would help from entering the city in order to protect the tornado victims from the further victimization of looters.

I’ve seen notices reminding people to ask to see the identification of FEMA works because of impersonators seeking identity theft.

There are headlines of looters being arrested. There are notices not to pay for various services such as tree removal or roof repair without going through insurance agencies.

I was so impressed by the reports from Japan after the disasters there, saying that there had been no problem with looting, that people weren’t even worried about that because it wasn’t in the Japanese nature to do such things. The people were – and are – so dignified.

Thankfully, the evil I’ve seen has been outweighed by the good this week. I’ve been blessed to step out of my comfort zone and help in ways that seem so small compared to the incredible need. It’s been awe-inspiring to watch God work through His people and see the love of community poured out on its neighbors.

I’ve been moved to tears by the goodness of people. Those who suffered damage or injury helping those who suffered worse damage and more severe injury. People from hours away who came here just to help. People showing up and working side-by-side with strangers just to do something.

I’ve seen God in action through His people this week. Though I’d never wish this kind of disaster on anyone, it’s been humbling to be reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us, even – or especially – in the midst of crisis.

Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. – Nehemiah 9:19

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6 Comments

  1. Kris, your children will never forget this. This experience will forever give them a heart for hurting people. You are showing them how to live out, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

    Praying for you and yours.

  2. Reminds me of when Hurricane Rita hit our area. It is and will be all you think about for a long time. At least with hurricanes, there is some sort of preparation you can make to try and get out…not with tornadoes. You are either in the path or you aren't. Do you guys have any type of warning system in your area? Sirens? Is it effective or reliable?

    It terrifies me to think that in a split-second one of these tornados can be upon you…and can't imagine what you all must be going through.

    Sadly, as you have seen, these things have a way in bringing out the best or the worst in people, but I am so glad God and his grace has been prevalent throughout.

    We are praying for you guys and your area and so glad you can hold fast to the grace, peace, and comfort only the Lord can provide.

  3. You know what is horrible? We aren't hearing anything about it in the Midwest (I live near Chicago). After the initial hit, it's been silent on any channel I see. Maybe they're talking about it and I just don't catch it, but it's weird that the death of a terrorist on the other side of the world is so much more important to our newsmen than the suffering of fellow countrymen…

    Glad your family is ok.

  4. actually, it's so wonderful to hear about the good that is coming from this horrible situation. thanks for sharing!

  5. Jamerrill,
    Thanks for that verse! I think it's perfect in this situation.

    Pauline,
    No sirens, but the news media was incredible. They were telling us down to the minute when the worst of the storm would be upon us. Of course, no everyone had power and not everyone heeded the warning, but we were able to keep Brian's family (who didn't have power) and others abreast of what was happening via text messaging.

    Tracey and Tettelestia,
    Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

  6. I just can't fathom the fact that there are no sirens. My family doesn't have a tv and if we lived there we would of had no way of know that there was a tornado coming. I suppose it's because of the fact that the south doesn't get very many tornadoes.

    I live in the midwest were tornadoes are common and we had TWO tornadoes come through my town in the past 3 months. One right down the street! Talk about a scary experience. My family was fine but many homes were completely torn apart but we had no deaths. Which, I believe is because we have sirens and we are so used to them we are most likely more prepared for them than other places that aren't used to them.

    I think that is why the news media isn't covering the midwest because we didn't have so many casualties as in the south and I guess that just doesn't make good headlines.

    I really hope these towns will invest in sirens now. It could save so many lives.

    I will continue to pray for all the people that have been affected by this weather.

    Stay safe, Crystal

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