“He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
2 Kings 6:16-17
Monday afternoon a powerful tornado with winds over 200mph torn a 17 mile long path of destruction through parts of Oklahoma. Pictures flooded the web of people being pulled out of buildings and gathering themselves after the powerful tornado passed. I read quotes of people angry at God, wondering where He could have been in the midst of such pain and destruction. How could God allow something like this? How could you God? Where were you in that?
In 2 Kings the Israelites saw their enemies charging and knowing they were outmatched, cried out in fear. The prophet Elijah spoke these words; those who are with us are greater than those against us. And suddenly the men looked up, and all around them were multitudes of the Lord’s army there to protect them, to be there for them. At first glance, they felt alone, and God felt distant. On a second glance, it became overwhelmingly clear that God was there with them in that moment.
I have been watching like most people as images and videos have poured in from Oklahoma. I was so moved to see images of a teacher leading her elementary class away from the rubble of their school, with no injures visible to her students, but the teacher’s eye swollen shut, with blood pouring from the side of her head, where she had clearly been hit with debris. Neighbors carrying each other from their homes to ambulances, people gather for prayer outside of homes where first responders were searching for survivors.
Sometimes it is natural to believe that where trouble and hurt are, God is not. But on second glance, like Elijah we can see so clearly God’s hand and his comforting presence at work in and through individuals in powerful ways, even in the darkest moments. My thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by these storms, and continued prayers for God’s Holy Spirit to comfort those in the aftermath of this painful event.