Pray for Oklahoma

For we know the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now… ~ Romans 8:22

oklahomaOklahoma is sort of a “stomping grounds” for me.  Though I was born, raised, and presently live in Missouri, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2003 with a degree in Meteorology.  People see me going around all over the place with an OU hat and they immediately think, “Football.”  Yes, that’s part of it, but before I became a student there I didn’t grow up with an affinity for a crimson-clad football team.  For me it was all about the weather.

I have had a passion for the weather since I was a child, and ultimately by leading me to OU because of weather and to a wonderful discipleship-focused church and Baptist Student Union, God also led me to become a pastor.

Oklahoma forever has a place in my heart.

Yesterday I was down in Oklahoma doing one of the things I love—chasing storms.  It is not a hobby that should be embraced by just anyone wanting to get good footage for Youtube or the Weather Channel.  Storm chasing is more about safety than it is about a picture or a thrill.

I was north of Tulsa watching a large tornado glide through open country.  That is when it’s enjoyable.

While on the chase, I heard the news that the city of Moore had been devastated by its third major and second destructive tornado in 14 years.  That is when it is heartbreaking.

Whenever we hear news of some major event—a natural disaster especially (massive tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc.), we are faced with a question: why does a good, loving, and all-powerful God allow these things to happen?  The short and honest answer for each individual event is: we don’t know.  The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. ~ Deuteronomy 29:29

When it comes to why these things happen in nature, generally, as a whole—the answer Paul gives in Romans 8 is that we live in a broken and fallen world crying out in pain and longing for the freedom of redemption.

When events like this happen, it is a time where we need to be few with our words, slow to speak, and quick to listen.  We need to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).  We need to love others and serve them in the name of the Only One who can ultimately heal all wounds (Matthew 25:31-40).  And we need to pray.

It is easy for us to tune it out, to turn on the TV when we’re far removed and say, “That’s horrible, those poor people.”  And then get on with our lives.  But even if you live miles away, spend time praying for the people impacted (and not just there, but in other places damaged by storms this spring), for the first responders and the medical centers, and for the area churches as they seek to serve in a compassionate and gospel-centered way.  And also give.  Give blood, if you can; give through the  Red Cross and other good charitable organizations, and give so our own Southern Baptist Disaster Relief program can mobilize and serve.

Comments

  1. says

    Southern Baptists sometimes forget that when disaster strikes, they can always give to SBC Disaster Relief. It is one of the best, if not the best, places to give. They provide disaster relief, while also providing a Christian witness.

    You can give to SBC Disaster Relief the same way your church gives through the Cooperative Program. Just designate it for Disaster Relief and tell them if you want it to go to the NAMB, the IMB, or both.

    Let your church know they can give in this way.

    May God bless the victims in Oklahoma, and the Disaster Relief workers.
    David R. Brumbelow

  2. cb scott says

    Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has been a lifeline for many people. During the April, 2011 Birmingham tornadoes, Southern Baptists from all over America came to help. When other disaster relief organizations left, Southern Baptists and the PCA stayed.

    In addition, let me once again thank Dave Miller, Tim Rogers, Alan Cross, Bob Cleveland and a host of others who frequent this blog for making so many financial contributions to our disaster relief efforts in Birmingham during that time. Your generous donations helped us to feed and house hundreds of disaster relief workers from all over the country for over a year at no cost to them as they worked to help put displaced people back in their homes and share the Good Story of Jesus with a an unknown number of people.

    God bless you all. And may He grant great mercy, hope, and strength to the Southern Baptists Disaster Relief teams who are already headed from all areas of this nation to help the folks in Oklahoma put their lives back together and share the Story of Jesus as they do so.

    God is Good. God is Good all of the time.

  3. says

    Amen, Mike. Pray, and in everything give thanks. Sometimes it is so hard to see the reasons for thanksgiving with disaster all around. Yet there is reason.

  4. says

    Thanks Mike. We here in the Metro OK area are grateful for your post. We also believe that some our best occasions to bear testimony to the love and care of God in the world come via our combined relief efforts.

    I know many who lost homes, suffered some damage, and narrowly escaped. I know teachers who were both in the middle of the most difficult story and those helping in schools from a distance. There are 17 churches in our association that are in the area. Yet, all 76 of our churches are participating in one way or another in the relief efforts. This makes me proud of the SBC.

    There are times I offer a critique of the SBC. But, when it comes to Disaster Relief and the occasion to offer a more real connection with God’s love and care, I would often rather see us give more money to these efforts that require our theology to be worked out on the ground, in the throws of human suffering, than other areas more prone to the more cerebral.

    I think Bart Barber’s recent post is timely and well-penned.

    Thanks again.