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Tornadoes & The Heidelberg Catechism

May 6, 2011

An estimated 398 tornadoes formed & touched ground across Alabama on April 27th, 2011.
Tornado

The small community where most of my parents’ family still live was devastated by tornadoes that swept across Alabama on Wednesday, April 27th. This rural area in northwest Alabama was hit by F-5 tornadoes which started just west of the home my Grandfather built (& survived with minimal damage!), blew across the farms of 2 of Mother’s sisters, continued to the little town of Hackleburg, Alabama, where it destroyed the only grocery store, the high school & the home where my Mother’s sister-in-law was resting, having returned from visiting my hospitalized uncle who had just been placed on hospice. That tornado essentially exploded the house – only toothpicks are left. Her body was found in a tree, which like all the other trees in a half-mile wide swath, was knocked down & twisted into twigs.

The national news has focused on the big cities most everyone has heard of: Birmingham, Tuscaloosa; but the small communities in this very rural state are only now, 2 weeks after the storms, beginning to receive assistance thanks to the churches, Samaritan’s Purse, & the Boy Scouts, though the Alabama National Guard did have helicopters up the next day, sending in chainsaws to cut my cousin & his daughter out of their home.

Attending my Aunt’s funeral Wednesday, I noted that none of the homes in this part of Marion County have water service, few have power. Power companies from around the region had truck after truck planting new power poles & stringing new lines. The local power company was cutting trees & removing debris along the road to Papaw’s white wood-frame house when I drove Mother by, wanting to get to Aunt Opal’s & Aunt Jo’s, to check on them before Aunt Peachie’s funeral. She couldn’t bear for me to stop for photos.

I have been told by folks from other parts of our nation that they could never live down south because of tornadoes. To me, it’s just something that happens, like snow storms up north, hurricanes on the coast, earthquakes in California. The beauty, the sunlight, the green pastureland & tall trees are worth the occasional storm, the indiscriminate tornado. Just pay attention to storm warnings & recognize the Sovereignty of God.

Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1:

What is your only comfort, in life and in death?

That I belong–body and soul, in life and in death–not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of His own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that He protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit His purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.

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