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I'm just a girl trying to keep an eternal perspective on life, and live it to the fullest :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Praying for Joplin

After church, my mom, one of my daughters and I spent the day with extended relatives. We arrived back home around 6pm, not having any idea that just at that time there was a monstrous tornado devastating the city of Joplin, MO.

Completely oblivious to the mass destruction and suffering nearby, I went to bed at about 10:30 without having turned on my radio/tv/computer. I was awakened a short while later with a phone call from a coworker notifying me that the hospital I work at had implemented their "Disaster/Mass Casualty Policy" due to this terrible tornado. I was in disbelief.  Then, after calling my department at work, and being put "on-call", I looked up photos, videos and news articles on the internet.

I've been aware of other natural disasters lately from the Japan earthquake/tsunami to the devastating tornados and floods that have ruined homes and lives. However, this tornado really hit home. I had family at a graduation in Joplin just the day prior, my dad has worked in Joplin, and we have visited several times. My brother-in-law just moved to Kansas City from Pittsburg, KS (which is just about 30 miles from Joplin) last week. I can't help but think of the people I've known throughout the years who are from Joplin, MO. I pray for them, and for the people I don't know. I pray for the families worried about a loved one(s) they can't get in contact with. I pray...

Here are some of the most recent sobering facts via The Washington Post :

*Death toll at 89 and likely growing
*Tornado path: 6 miles long, more than a 1/2 mile wide through the center of Joplin
*25-30% of city damaged
*Every window in town hospital blown out
*Sirens gave residents about 20 minutes warning
*Deadliest Missouri tornado on record
*Closing in on 20th deadliest U.S. tornado; right now deadliest since 1953 Worchester, Mass., tornado (killed 94)

Here is an iPhone video shot from a helicopter just after the tornado blew through the city:

This morning, as I type this, Joplin is being hit with another round of storms which are producing hail, strong winds and rain. Needless to say, the relief efforts have had their roadblocks. Their risk for further severe weather is a threat throughout the day. To be a helping hand,  join in with one of these organizations @ How to Help.

So, after the relief efforts, what is there to do for the lives that will be forever changed? Pray for God to comfort those suffering. Only HE has the power. Pray for HIM to use and work through You.

True comfort and hope are only found through intimately knowing Jesus. 

Because we live in a fallen world, life inevitably includes sorrow. When sin entered the human race, it brought death—physical death and spiritual death with all the accompanying ramifications. Death or loss of anything we value causes grief. However, God has a higher purpose for His people, and He is faithful to use our most painful times to mature us, to draw us into closer dependence on Him...

We must recognize our limitations and remember that God is the one who "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Ps. 147:3). We should do all we can do to ease others' pain, but we can't do what only God can do. He is "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles" with a comfort that is transferable.22 In a fallen world where loss and grief are guaranteed, God will use us to comfort others when wounds are raw and deep...

In the book of Revelation, God offers one final word about our grief: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. . . . And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Rev. 21:1a, 3-4).

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