This week has been full of many different emotions. From fear, to pain, to empathy. Love and loss, heartache and more love. And then came a different emotion….connection. Connection to those around us who have lost so much this past week. Connection through seeing our city torn apart and divided asunder and now the connection of working together on cleanup and rebuilding what once was.
On March 3, 2020 in the middle of the night, a tornado ripped through the city of Nashville, Tennessee. It was on the ground for an estimated 60 miles, destroying everything in its path. It was an ominous site to witness the destruction and loss that came in a mere matter of minutes.
As I have read and seen and been part of this experience it has been both heart wrenching and heartwarming. But mostly heartwarming. I am amazed by our community of different faiths that have come together to clean up, repair, love and serve our neighbor. Especially those in great need, but also those that are sacrificing their time to help in the effort. They have come from near and far. The first responders and the subsequent responders that have also been taken care of by the many volunteers that have come together in the rebuilding of a community that has suffered greatly.
As I thought about this, my mind turned to another city in another place on another night at a different time. That of our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose blood dripped from every pore as he prayed for us that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you imagine the pleas and the struggle that he went through as he saw devastation and destruction envelop cities all over the world? Cities like ours who were awakened with thunder and lightning so loud that it brought us to our knees with great pleas for safety and deliverance. As He witnessed heartache and loss unimaginable? His heart was so wrenched that he cried out to the Father:
Luke 22:42 As He prayed He cried out to the Father saying; Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
He did it all for us. He walked the streets of Jerusalem carrying a mighty cross on his back, that was already raw with the open wounds from lashings that came from those who despised and hated him. A crown of plaited thorns that was placed on his head while blood, sweat and tears dripped into his gentle eyes as he walked.
He carried that great cross to the hill where they would then lay him on it and drive nails through his palms, wrists, feet and side. Then the cross was raised and planted in the ground and He suffered great pain, more than we are capable of comprehending, to complete the ultimate atonement for us. His brothers and sisters.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ continues to succor us in our times of great need. He loves us and watches over us. He speaks to us, if we are willing and ready to listen. His voice is not of thunder or of lightning but of a still small voice. One that pierces our souls and spurs us to actions. We are told in
1 Kings 19:11- 12 … And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
This is what I have seen this past week. This is what I want to remember. All of those who have listened to His voice. Whether it was amidst the tempest and storm, or in the aftermath of the destruction. I want to remember a city that came together to help their brother in great time of need. I want to remember the volunteers that came out, so many that they had to close roads to them so that the trucks hauling debris would be able to get in and out of the neighborhoods. And then buses full of volunteers whose hearts were drenched with love for their neighbors in need, came to help in any way that they could. From manual labor of hauling and removing debris, to bringing meals, doing laundry, storing valuables that could be retrieved. And packing up homes that had been condemned because of too much damage. Even offering free childcare to those hurting and those helping in the clean up effort.
It truly has been a sight to see and be a part of and one that I won’t soon forget. I hope that as we approach Easter in just a few weeks that we will remember the suffering of our great redeemer. And know that as we have all participated in this life altering event we have in some small way been his hands and his heart. He died for us that we might live again. And we love our neighbor as he commanded so that He might live in us.
One last thought I wanted to share that happened the day after the storm. I had been filled with a great anxiety as I am sure a lot of people have been feeling. So I turned to the scriptures in prayer for some kind of relief. I stumbled upon, or rather was guided to,
Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
And again, I was reminded that He did it all for us!