Welcome Reader Friends! Recently, I read an author’s point of view about God’s supposed conditional faithfulness and how we can earn His favor. Of course, this isn’t the God we serve, who is faithful even in the face of tragedy, and His favor cannot be earned. His grace is based upon who He is as a Person, not on our personal merit. As a result of reading that discouraging teaching, I wrote this in response: “Short Story, Faith through the Tornado.” Perhaps many of you can relate. Let me know if this kind of faith makes sense.—David Telbat
Faith through the Tornado
by D.I. Telbat
Thirty-seven-year-old Amber Lange stared at the carnage of the tornado in Eastern Colorado. Down the street, her neighbors picked through what looked like a war zone. Broken trees seemed to have swapped places with vehicles, trampolines with roofs, and washing machines with dog houses. For Amber, the situation was magnified since she and her family of three were new to town. But now she was a family of one. Her husband and four-year-old daughter had been killed during the storm.
All that had happened three days earlier. Three days that felt like three years. At the rescue center, where she was living temporarily, she had cycled through hours of courage to stand in God’s love, then fear about the future, and then anger that it had happened at all. The sorrow and the emptiness seemed to last no matter what. Seeing what was left of their home—the memorial of her husband and daughter—was a pile of rubble.
She picked up a skateboard from where her dining table had been. It was someone else’s, maybe from next door, or from a mile away. Though the board was badly scratched, she leaned it gently against her intact mailbox so someone could claim it.
Sorting through clothes strewn across a collapsed stairway, she remembered the words of the smiling preacher the weekend before. She and her husband had only just begun to visit churches in the area, looking for a Bible-based fellowship where they could participate and raise their daughter. The preacher had said that God would protect them from bad things, as long as they kept their eyes on Jesus.
Amber and her husband had exchanged glances when they’d heard those words, as if to say to one another, “Then every time something bad happens in the world, it’s the fault of the victims?” They felt such careless words were dangerous, teaching that receiving good from God was earned rather than appreciated with gratitude, as if God was a clerk offering a line of credit or debt. After the service, they’d decided not to return to that church. Now, Amber wondered if God had made a point to show that the preacher had indeed misspoke, particularly to many of the congregation who lived in that neighborhood.
Pushing aside shattered dishes, Amber finally found her husband’s Bible from which he’d been reading when the storm siren had gone off. Amber had run to the bathroom to dive into the tub. Her husband had been right behind her, their four year old in his arms. And then they were gone, along with the house.
Bad stuff happened even to the faithful, Amber considered. The world was a fallen place. Loss and evil and tragedy occurred unexpectedly. Living for Jesus faithfully didn’t keep tragedy at bay necessarily—keeping in mind that God was still in control. No, living for Jesus faithfully was proof that Christians weren’t alone through tragedy. God wasn’t missing in all this, even if it made little sense at the moment.
The thought made Amber’s heart beat a little faster. She picked up a soaked blanket. Now, she was a widow. But she wasn’t alone. Her Father had taken her husband and child home. And the opportunity before her was immense: to bear fruit for God through this nightmare, to prove that the fallen world could throw its tantrums, but God’s people belonged to a different Kingdom, to a greater Kingdom, to a Kingdom that overcame by faith.
Amber tucked her husband’s Bible under her arm and lifted her face to the sky as it began to rain again. Her Lord had been resurrected three days after Calvary, defeating sin and death. Her house was gone, but her husband and daughter were living still. All wasn’t lost, only shifted. God would faithfully embrace her family in heaven. Her job was to trust in Him, not to appease Him, but to please Him.
With her heart set, Amber was ready to live again, and to finish well for her Savior, no matter the obstacles or storms!
NOTE: On Feb 26, another of David’s posts, “Writing Research on Survival: Two Phases of Crisis” was published in online newspaper, “Freedom Preppers.” Find a link to this post under the World Section here.
COMING UP: Dee will have a Novel Update post on March 2nd with David’s latest writing and novel news. Then next MONDAY, David shares an inside view of Distant Contact, Book One in the upcoming COIL Legacy Series with, “New Novel Tackles Family Conflict.”