On May 3, 1999, a violent system of "supercell" thunderstorms spawned more than 76 tornadoes over central Oklahoma and the Wichita, Kansas, areas, killing 44 people and injuring over 750 more. The most intense tornado that evening reached F5 in strength with clocked wind speeds over 300 mph. Up to a mile wide at times, the giant twister churned continuously for several hours, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying over 4,000 homes in its 45-mile-long path.
A tornado is one of nature's strongest forces--and the most dreaded. Tornadoes have hit all 50 states. Most tornadoes form in a belt from Nebraska southward through central Texas, and in the Southeast. In addition to its destructive force, a developing tornado is almost impossible to detect, and only with advanced technology can symptoms of tornadoes be spotted before they strike. Unfortunately, many areas do not have early warning devices such as Doppler radar.
The wind speed of the swirling air inside a tornado can exceed 300 miles per hour. These are nature's most furious windstorms. The destructive force can lift homes from foundations and hurl cars through the air. Many times, there are multiple tornadoes formed from the same rain cloud, resulting in widespread destruction and often death. In these cases, entire sections of cities are destroyed, including homes, buildings and even trees and vegetation. All that is left is the earth and utter destruction. When tornadic conditions are present, people are warned to seek whatever protection is available, to find a place to hide to minimize the danger.
There is much uncertainty in our lives and in our world as well. We do not know when the storms of life will come. We do not know which beautiful sunrise may be the last one we see. The One who knows all things is God. If we know God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we can find true shelter from life's greatest storm, which is sin and eternal death. The Bible says, "All have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard" (Romans 3:23). Sin is like a killer storm that destroys the lives of all men and women. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
In this world there is physical death and there is spiritual death. If we are caught in the open during a twister, our physical death is possible. If we are caught living our entire life without God, spiritual death is certain...because God cannot accept sin in heaven.
The Good News is that God loves us and desires a relationship with us, and His love led Him to provide a solution for our sin. When God's Son, Jesus, died on the cross, He took our death sentence for us. "He died for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live" (Galatians 1:4).
The storms of nature and the storms of life will both continue, but you can have perfect peace (through both) by trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved" (Romans 10:9, 10). Right now, I urge you to make such a commitment.
You may make these words your prayer:
Lord Jesus, I know that I have sinned. I ask Your forgiveness of my sins. I now turn from my sins and turn to You, trusting You alone for eternal life. Amen.
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