A Father and a Storm
Recently, a deadly tornado touched down in Westport, Oklahoma, and wound it’s devastating path and tentacles of destruction due east into Sand Springs, near Tulsa. My 28 year-old daughter was driving home, due west from her Tulsa workplace, on a headlong, collision course with the cloudy killer. Seeing the outline of rain-wrapped funnel clouds directly in front of her, she had, in a complete panic, called home on her cell phone. None of us having lived in an area of the country where these things are a common occurrence for very long, you can imagine her terror as she called us crying, frenzied and frantic. We – her mom and I – being separated and completely cut off from her location by the twister directly between us, could only try to get her calmed down and turned around and driving back towards Tulsa as quickly as she possibly could, hopefully getting her to a larger convenience or department store storm shelter there in Sand Springs to ride it out.
As parents, certainly many of you can imagine our emotions as she stayed on her cell during that life and death dilemma, describing the carnage and damage happening all around her. As she, for instance, told us in a tear-driven panic about the drenching, rain-wrapped darkness directly in front of her; the impenetrable darkness of the deadly twister in her rearview mirror bearing down relentlessly upon her; and the wind-driven gusts which threatened to blow her sideways and into the concrete barriers of the long bridge over the Arkansas River by the Keystone Dam as she crossed it.
While we are certainly by no means perfect parents in any sense, shape, or form of the word, that was enough for me. It didn’t matter what might lie between us – Daddy was getting to his ‘little girl’ who was coming apart in that storm, no matter what he had go through to get to her. The drive to Sand Springs was a nightmare. And driving through several inches of water on the highway at times; being blown around a bit in the occasional goodly gust of wind; dodging even the tractor-trailers that had pulled over under the overpasses to avoid the deluge of marble-sized hail pellets that threatened to break our windshields as they pounded into our vehicles like a barrage of automatic weapons’ gunfire; seeing the undercarriage of the blown-over tractor-trailer on its side just over on the other side of the highway; or even the pile of rubble where the donut store had stood no more than 30 minutes ago as we passed by, wasn’t even the worst of that normally 30 minute trip as we chased the tail-end of the that terrible twister to Sand Springs. No, the worst part of that trip was some of our daughter’s words and their implications as they swept back over our cell phones… “Daddy I’m going to die!” “I love you mom and dad!” And “I can hear it! Here it comes!” as she hunkered down in the freezer of the Sand Springs convenience store she had made it back to, along with the rest of the frenzied customers when it passed over. And what overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude as we pulled into that convenience store parking lot just a few minutes later and she came running out safely (at least physically if not altogether psychologically) a short couple of minutes after that!
And I couldn’t help but think of our Father who is in heaven, and what He went (and continues to go) through to reach His storm-tossed and frantic children in the toughest and most deadly of earthly, sin-swept storms! What He went through to secure our eternal salvation on that cross (Philippians 2:5-8)! And the fact that He will stop at absolutely nothing to calm and keep His children safe, in even the worst and most deadly storms of our lives, if and when we will but call on, and listen to Him (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)!
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)