Refuge in the Storm
By Pam Kumpe –
When a tornado warning comes over my television, I gather up personal items and disappear to my bathroom. Some of my friends tend to make fun of me when they hear that I run for cover, and they laugh at the way I gather up belongings and pack them into the tub, but after the tornadoes I’ve heard about this year in Alabama and Missouri, I’m convinced more than ever to run and hide during storms.
I’ll continue to grab blankets and pillows to protect my head, my laptop, my back up drive, my schnauzer Macy, my Bible, two or three candles (lighting them prior to the electricity going out), my purse, eye glasses, and a flashlight.
Once I’m in the tub, I keep myself posted on the weather with updates on my cell phone, but it since it takes only a few minutes until I get bored, I’m ready to snap pictures of my dog as she sleeps on the quilt at the other end of the tub. She’s spent too many nights with me during storms and considers this a place to nap.
On my most recent visit to the tub a hail storm pounded the roof on my house and the winds ripped off branches from the trees in the back yard. And although my husband teased me, he joined me in the hall bathroom after sirens sounded off.
Our night ended with hail damage to both our vehicles and to the roof, but when I listened to the survivor stories in Alabama and those is Joplin, Missouri I found myself grateful and saddened—all at the same time.
A young lady described her night of terror, as she stepped back into her bathtub, the only remaining spot in her house. She folded up, got down on her knees, tucked her head in and said she had held onto the side of the tub.
Many people only had piles of debris in the places where homes once sat and block after block of houses lay splintered in massive heaps of rubble.
A man told his story, of how he too had crawled into the tub, taking his two dogs with him. At one point the suction pulled his pets into the air. They were flying above the man’s head and moving away from him.
The only thing that saved his dogs—he had them on leashes.
One man told of a donut truck flying through his living room. Another man got hit in the head by a Jeep.
A father cried as he looked for his six year old son, and yes, they found the boy alive some time later.
I saw a photo of a man holding a paper sack with these words: The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9.
Another photo showed a cross in a yard and choir robes in a destroyed church were unharmed in a closet.
Another photo showed a man as he flipped through a damaged photo album and diesel trucks were tossed into piles along the road, they looked like Tinker toys.
People hugged, many with their hands covering their mouths, and groups stood in the street shaking their heads. A man cuddled his cat. A dog looked for his owner.
Then I saw a photo of a Bible, a black leather one and it was sitting on debris.
A teenager walked around with an American flag draped over his shoulders.
Storms are scary, no matter if you hide from them in the tub or ride them out in the closet, and talk about fear—when deadly storms rush in, there’s not much a person can do—but hold on and pray.
And the next time I’m headed to the tub, I’m putting a leash on my dog so she won’t get away from me if the suction pulls on her. Maybe I’ll put a leash on my hubby too.
Speaking of leashes, this reminds me of how God’s leash of love is extended to us. He is ready to hold onto the broken hearted; those who are trying to recover and move on after devastating storms.
So let’s pray for the hurting—lift them up, lend a hand if you can because these folks need God’s hope. And to make it through to the next day, I pray God is their refuge in these hard times, and they find refuge in His love.