There’s nothing like a near miss with a natural disaster to make you think. As you know, this tornado season has been unprecedented with the number of tornadoes causing destruction and death. Over 500 people have died due to tornadoes this year. Last Sunday (5/22)  a massive tornado hit Joplin, Missouri and destroyed half the town.

So when a tornado watch was put into effect on Tuesday here in Kansas City, we took notice. We decided to sleep in the basement just to be safe, in case the storm worsened quickly so we wouldn’t have to run down stairs with a startled baby in the middle of the night. We awoke Monday morning to a calm world with no sign of any craziness overnight. So Jason went to work and I stayed home with Joshua.

And then a tornado warning was issued. (A tornado watch is a notice to be alert because conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. A tornado warning means there’s a big storm coming your way and it could become a tornado at any time so take cover.) I would like to say I calmly took Joshua down into the basement and waited out the storm with much faith and peace. But I’d be lying. Instead, I ran for the basement with a nap-deprived bobo in tow and called my mom crying because I was so scared. I texted back and forth with Jason to make sure he was somewhere safe. And then mom and I talked and listened to tornado warnings and followed the weather on the internet until the storm passed. I discovered that our basement has no baby friendly area, so Joshua cried his little heart out the whole time while I tried to keep him corralled and away from all of the things that he could get into. The storm passed after about 40 minutes and I ventured upstairs. It was sunny and beautiful out, as if nothing had happened. Joshua went to sleep for a looooong nap and I tried to gather my wits.

In the days since I’ve spent some time reflecting on the storm, on the destruction in Joplin, on the feeling of fear that rises in my heart when I hear a loud peal of thunder. Surely it’s normal to be afraid when there’s a tornado headed your way and images of a city recently decimated by a tornado come flooding into your brain. Surely it’s natural to not want to have your house ripped off from over your head. But could it be that I don’t have to be afraid in a situation like that? Really?

Matthew 8:23-27 “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.

But Jesus was sleeping.  

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

How many times have I read this story? Yeah, Jesus calms the storm. Cool. Move on to the next story. But wait. What if I try to imagine myself IN that boat? I think I’d be freaking out with the disciples. What if I try to imagine Jesus calmly sleeping in my basement while a tornado was heading towards us? I think I’d wake him up too!

I’ve been thinking about this story and about how the Spirit of Jesus lives inside of me. He’s still in charge. He still has the authority to calm a literal storm. He is still not afraid, still calm and still at peace even in the middle of the worst tornado season. I bet he’d love to share a little of that peace with me. I bet I could even learn how to trust him so completely that I could face a tornado warning calmly. I’m not sure how to get there but I want it. People all over the world are dealing with extreme circumstances every day. Chances are pretty good that I’m going to have to face more things in life that scare me.

And so, now in the days of calm skies I want to learn how to make Him my refuge and my hiding place. So that, when a time of trouble comes (be it tornado warning, sickness, heartache, financial loss, or whatever) I can be more prepared.

Psalm 91 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. They say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”


Check out this crazy storm cloud picture here from the recent KC storm.

We have a friend here who is from Joplin. His dad and brother still live there and his dad’s house was destroyed by the tornado. Read his fascinating story here.