Friday, April 29, 2011

Just How Close Death Can Come [or] A Tale of A Tornado

It was 1:00 A.M.  Sweet, dreamless slumber was roughly interrupted as Daddy woke up everyone in
the house.  Foggy-brained and sleepy-eyed, we kids followed him, almost blindly we groped though the lighted house.  Yawns that could not be suppressed almost split our faces.  Not until Daddy's pressing "Hurry, no time!" did we actually begin to understand the urgency.  Earlier that day the weather forecast had warned of the late-night upcoming storms, even an issued tornado warning.  Daddy had stayed up that night to keep an eye on the imminent storm while the rest of us went to bed,
very unaware that we would soon be shaken abruptly awake from sleep.  Nervous, hurried, and even scared, we all grabbed pillows frantically and followed Daddy and Mama to their spacious closet.  There we all (excepting Daddy who was keeping a constant eye outside) huddled down together.  A big possibility of a tornado heading our way was the weather forecast's message.  The weather radar on Daddy's phone confirmed this.  The atmosphere was tense and our apprehensive chatter did nothing to calm jittery nerves.  Beside me sat Reb, and I put my hand affectionately upon his head.  Clara Mae, just in front of me, had her pillow held tightly over her head.  Her lips were white with fear as her seven-year-old brain mulled over one thing: tornado.  Her slender little body quivered and trembled. Liberty, who's sleep had been so rudely broken up, cried, more from sleepiness than fright.  The older ones, if they felt any fear, did not show it much.  With my knees pulled up to my chest, I looked from one family member to another.  Truth be told, I was crazy with fear inside.  I did not show it because I did not know for sure whether the tornado would actually hit us.  But fear nevertheless coursed through my body, making me feel cold and hot at the same time.  A mattress resting outside the door lay in wait for Daddy to throw over us just in case the tornado came.  Dread rose in my throat as I thought about that specific detail.  What if Daddy didn't make cover trying to save us?

A terrible realization hit me.  What if our house was beset by the raging tornado and we all perished?  Put rather bluntly, what if we all died and did not live to see another day?  The thought upset me.  No one wants to die, no matter how much faith they may have in Christ or how much they may want to escape life's problems.  In the bleakest moment, no one wants to die.  Although death is inevitable for everyone eventually, we all will try everything in our power to delay the inevitable.  I felt that I, at sixteen—almost seventeen—years old, had no right to die.  My whole life was ahead of me.  There was so much I wanted to do and experience in life.  Or what about little Liberty, who had even more life ahead of her, only almost two years old?  "It's not fair!" my heart cried as practically certain death seemed to stare me in the face.  Perhaps I was a bit hysterical and imaginative, but that is what fear does to one.  Someone looking at me from the outside would not have guessed my inner struggle.  Perhaps from the outside I was cool, calm, and collected, but inside I was scared, shaking, and stiffened with fear.  But what am I to judge who should and should not die?  Only God has that authority.

Then the thought hit me.  I had not spoken one prayer to the Master of the [seemingly] uncontrollable storm.  As a matter of fact, He had every bit of control over it.  I wanted to cry.  My first thought should have been a prayer to the Lord, but instead I had been assailed by doubts and fears.  As I looked from face to worried face, the only thought that flowed through my brain was "God, save us. Lord, protect us. God, save us."  As much as my flesh didn't want to admit it, God held our lives in His hand, as well as the direction of the storm.  I had no real reason to be frightened, for He would do everything according to His will, whether our lives would be surrendered for His glory or not.  We may not know what tomorrow brings, but we can know that it is always completely in His hands.

The Aftermath

To sum up a long and descriptive story, the tornado did not come within a mile of our house.  However, as the next day came, we learned that it had reached the outskirts of Barnesville, a small town about five miles from us.  That sobered me.  Just how close can death come and just barely miss the target?  My record experience is five miles.  And it was all by the grace of God that my family and I escaped.  I was sobered beyond anything that I had ever experienced.

A tornado's wrath is extreme and horrific.  When I awoke at 10:00 A.M. the next morning after a long and eventful night, I cannot begin to describe how thrilled and excited I was to see the blazing spring sun shining brightly through the window.  As I basked in the sunlight for a moment I stopped to give God thanks for His mercy, grace, and the blessing of a new day.  I'll admit that usually I take my life for granted—all the busyness and daily routines—even my time with my family.  But the night of April 27 was sort of an epoch in my life, making me realize that life is fleeting, truly fleeting in the sense that we do not have much time on earth.  Every day God gives us is an immeasurable blessing, one we should not throw away lightly.

We also learned later in the day of April 28 that a couple was killed in the storm's path right outside of Barnesville.  Other tragedies have occurred throughout the entire South.  Those who have lost loved ones need our heartfelt prayers to the Almighty.  May we all have the courage to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away: blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Tales of Tragedy here and here. 

You can listen to Covenant Commission's radio broadcast the Just and Unjust Alike.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Ode of Tears

 In loving memory of my great-grandfather who passed away Saturday, April 16, 2011.  This poem is dedicated to James Brown Sr., son to the dearly departed, my daddy's dad, and my grandfather.

One last time to say goodbye
Kiss my cheek before I die
Do not let me see your tears
We've been through much through many years

Keep memories fresh in your beating heart
My son, I wish we could not part
Though I leave you soon to die
I'll still comfort your pain as you cry

I'm still your father wherever I go
My love to you you'll always know
Thank God for the years that we've had
The tears you've cried still make me sad

I'll still encourage you day by day
Remember my hands that I clasped to pray
Live your life to the fullest extent
Remember the time that together we spent

God as our King knows what is best
In His arms I go to rest
Remember the happiest times of life
Forget all the days of wrong, sin, and strife

Forgive me for what I might have done
I've always loved you, my dear, dear son
Think no more of past wrong—but right
Always follow the God of true light

I love you, my son—I can't say goodbye
Hold me close before death draws nigh
But thank God there's hope amongst my sin
Thank God I'm surrounded by kith and kin

My son, ne'er forget my love
God sees your sorrow even from above
Just one time let loose your tears
I'll comfort you once more as I did through the years

Goodbye, my son, for now I leave you
My broken body begins to feel new
I give you my blessing—I hope you live well
May God bless you wherever you dwell

I love you, my son

Friday, April 15, 2011

O Church of God

O Church of God, take rise
The world in trouble does sink
Though Christians some believe the lies
We shouldn't turn our heads and blink

O Church of God, be still
God on high will hear our call
Glory shines o'er the next hill
In Christ's arms we will fall

But wait, listen now
To God we first must turn
One day when every knee shall bow
Our punishment or reward we will learn

If we continue to shield sin
If we will not take our ground
America will let Satan in
And we will no longer hear God's sound

O Church of God, stand up tall
The battle is not yet done
Watch where we step or else we fall
The race is not yet run

O Church of God, shield your eyes
Immorality reeks through the street
Do not believe the devil's lies
Do not fall amidst the heat

O Church of God, let Christ in
Repent and confess His name
He is the only one to heal our sin
He is always forever the same

O Church of God, take heed
The battle will wage for many a year
Will we follow or will we lead
If only God's message we would hear!

Sin is knocking at the door
Do not open, God's one Church!
We have become a desperate whore
If only truth we would search

O Church of God, listen to God's voice
His anger is stirred anew
Right or wrong—we have the choice
Will we be many or all too few?

O Church of God, take heed
Throw away our sin
Take up arms and follow God's lead
Under Christ's banner we will win!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Scrumptious Spring Days!

The past couple of weeks have been splendid and full of sunshine!  Life seems so grand during these fleeting months!  God is so good to bless us His humble and lowly children with such wonderful gifts!  Praise to His name!

Adieu until next time, my beloved readers!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday, Reb!

Little brother of mine
On this day of yours so fine
I wish you all happiness and joy
The family's one and only boy!

Ever since the day of your birth
You graced our home with laughter and mirth
Not one day comes around
Without you making a joyful sound

Brother of mine—only one
We thank God for what He has done
I wish to express my deepest love
You are a blessing from above

One day you will be a man
Change the world I know you can
You'll be a man after God's own heart
From His word you will never part

I wish you happiest returns of the day
Fill your heart with laughter and play
Too soon you'll grown up and these years will be lost
But, dear brother, life is worth the cost

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Glory of a King

 The wind whispers praise
The ocean's waves raise
The birds sing their song
—Spring comes along

The reason for each flower
For each tree and bower
'Tis the glory of a King
In majesty does ring

Each time you see a sunset
With every spider's net
A kingly face you see
—The man who made you and me

His glory outshines the sun
His hand the world does run
Despite much evil in this world
One day His banner shall be unfurled

Every newborn baby
Is not a miracle just maybe
Every day is fresh and bright
Because of the King's glorious light

The glory of a King
Makes every nation ring
When supreme is His word
Every whisper of His is heard

The fragrance that you smell
Can make the whole world well
Just bow your knee to the King
His voice makes us want to sing