You’ve heard the old real estate rule about location. The Selken family thought they had the ideal location for their home near Shirley, Arkansas. Tonya was very careful to choose the best two of her grandfather’s 210 acres, not just for the incredible scenery, but also for protection from tornadoes. During 60 years of property ownership, the family had seen several twisters hop right over this spot and touch down harmlessly on the ridge beyond. Tonya’s father explained, “She was in the house once when one went right over the top of her.”
That’s not what happened on Feb. 5, 2008. The 36-year-old letter carrier and mother of 4 was killed by a tornado in a monster storm that claimed over 50 lives in several states. Her husband and their 14-year-old daughter were seriously injured, another daughter (16) had minor scrapes and 2 other children (12 & 18) were not at home. It appeared that the storm lifted the trailer, twisted it around and threw it backward up the hill. The undercarriage was about 15 yards from its original spot.
Tonya’s sister struggled with her loss and wanted to blame God. “For some reason, He’s not happy right now.” Her aunt added, “God didn’t do it; Satan did.” Later, the sister said through her tears, “She was my best friend. I would love to blame somebody. You can’t really blame God because He has taken care of us for so long and so many times. But there’s no reason for this. There’s no understanding for it.”
Our hearts go out to this family and all those who suffer losses in such terrible storms. We pray for them and want to help in any way we can. But, the story reminds us of something Jesus said 2000 years ago. His Sermon on the Mount ends with words about two houses. He contrasted the stability of a house built on rock with one built on sand. The rains, rising streams and winds caused the house on sand to fall “with a great crash,” but the house on rock stood firm. His point? “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Are you listening carefully to the words of Jesus? Are you assuming you already know them and have them mastered? Start with Matthew 5-7. When you hear His words, really hear them, what are you doing next? Can you be called “wise” because of your obedience to Jesus, or because of your own intelligence or achievements? Are you choosing to put off the obedience which might seem to disrupt your life? A house, a marriage, a family, a partnership, a business, a community, a city, a state, a nation — all need the bedrock foundation provided only by Jesus and His powerful teachings. The storms will come, regardless of your location, and your physical house may even fall, but you can still find true stability in Jesus and His Word?
Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey. All rights reserved.