Unexpected devastation struck the people of Moore, Oklahoma leaving them with pains of uncertainty. Tornadoes rained down from heaven wiping out people and the possessions they held dear. Read on to reflect on this tragedy, the hope we find in Christ, and the optimism we discover in knowing Youth can make a difference in uncertain times.
I’ve never lived in the mid-West. The closest I’ve come to tornado chasing is having a youth group student do a summer internship-studying twisters across the US heartland. I’m certain you won’t catch me doing that! One time a tornado touched down in my parent’s woods leveling everything in a one hundred yard path. I remember how the plant life bowed in the same direction. The twister flattened every simple weed and complex tree. I stared in awe at the awesome power unleashed upon the innocent forest.
Moore’s tornado was estimated to be two miles wide. Two miles wide! My brain went back to that childhood scene when I saw what 100 yards of devastation looked like . . . two miles wide! Uncertainty fills people as they grapple with what they experienced.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 blasts away uncertainty explaining we grieve with hope unlike those who grieve without hope in Christ. It is common to ask why natural disasters occur. We can develop some pretty strong theological statements to provide an answer. These statements deal with the entrance of sin and death into the world through Adam’s sin, but the pain experienced through tragedy is still raw and very real. Stop and think about the people of Moore, Oklahoma. What plans did they have for the rest of the day, May 21, 2013? How about the next week, month or year? It is uncertain how the people will piece their devastated lives back together. What remains certain is that God who masters the wind and the waves, is also master of the tornado. We’ll never know why He allowed this event to happen. We can watch for the good He will bring out of tragedy.
I have had the chance to stare at hundreds of teenager’s lives. Many of them seemed steeped in uncertainty. Yet God did miraculous deeds through their lives as they fully devoted themselves to Christ and His Church. One teen comes to mind who in 8th grade was so disruptive in Sunday school his teachers were considering kicking him out. They came to me in desperation. I didn’t know what to do with him, so we started getting together. We did everything from watch field hockey games to play laser tag. Eventually, God began to break through. This boy eventually became the leader of the youth ministry and led many youth to Christ through his verbal witness.
I don’t know how and I certainly don’t know why God chooses to work this way, but God consistently does amazing work during the moments when our lives are unsettled and uncertain.
Christian Endeavor is a tool God uses to help bring certainty to churches with uncertain discipleship efforts. CE raises the commitment bar, provides excitement, and challenge through leadership opportunities. Our time on this earth is short, I’m certain of that! Be a catalyst to unleash God’s power through creative youth genius. Then watch time and time again as God brings something amazingly beautiful from the land of uncertainty.