“Robert left his world a hero, as he shielded Mrs. Paula during the storm.” This is how a Facebook message describes the death of a sheriff’s deputy in Mississippi and his wife.
They were two of more than twenty victims of severe weather that swept across the South earlier this week. The storms killed people in Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Electricity was lost to nearly 1.3 million customers.
Andrew Phillips crowded into a closet-sized “safe room” with his wife and two sons in rural Moss, Mississippi. They had been watching an online Easter service because the pandemic forced their church to halt regular worship. Then a twister struck, shredding their house. The room, built of cinder blocks, was the only thing on their property left standing.
“I’m just going to let the insurance handle it and trust the good Lord,” said Phillips.
Life goes on in this fallen world
One of the tragedies of the coronavirus pandemic is that other tragedies are still just as tragic. From heart attacks and strokes to storms and car accidents, life goes on in this fallen world. The pandemic adds a dimension of fear and uncertainty to the present and future, making our lives feel even more fragile.
But Andrew Phillips is right: no matter what happens on this broken planet, the Lord is still good.
Nothing about the present changes his past character or future providence. From Abel’s death in Genesis to John’s exile in Revelation, God’s people have suffered along with everyone else. Sometimes he prevents tragedies (as when he freed Peter from Herod’s prison in Acts 12), but sometimes he allows pain and redeems it for the greater good (as with Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12).
I cannot claim to understand his mind or comprehend his ways, for my mind is finite and his is omniscient (cf. Isaiah 55:8–9). What I do know is that tragedy is the worst time to turn from the One whose strength I need even more when tragedy strikes. A COVID-19 patient who refuses healthcare because he is angry that medical experts have not prevented this pandemic harms only himself.
I also know that my Father redeems all he allows, sometimes in ways I would never suspect at the time. Max Lucado asks: “If God is in charge, why does he permit challenges to come our way? Wouldn’t an almighty God prevent them? Not if they serve his higher purpose! The ultimate example is the death of Christ on the cross. Everyone thought the life of Jesus was over. Jesus was dead and buried, but God raised him from the dead. God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday. Can he not do a reversal for you?”
Name your storm, then trust it to your Savior.
Why not now?