Extreme Weather Grace On Display in St. Louis

Last week I wrote about the grace the Lord wants to give when extreme weather comes calling. We saw an example in St. Louis over the weekend. The most powerful tornado that St. Louis has had for 44 years made a mess of the city on Friday night. It had winds of up to 200 mph that wreaked havoc at the airport and destroyed entire subdivisions damaging thousands of homes.

And yet, no one was killed. That is extreme weather grace.

One local mayor understands how grace saved people’s lives. In an article (linked and shared at the end of this post), his belief is explained.

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers believes divine intervention also was at work. His own home had moderate damage, but several houses in his neighborhood were obliterated. In many of them, mercifully, no one was home when the twister hit. One family was out for dinner. Another was away playing cards. Another was visiting relatives in Dallas. “The grace of God,” Bowers said. “What else can I say?”

At our Friday night meeting we had prayed that the Lord would protect lives during the extreme weather events that have been shaking. Our prayers joined with the prayers of many other intercessors who understand the importance of praying for this grace, and I believe we saw the results of those prayers. This is where God’s people will begin to shine in this darkening world. We are going to see amazing things.

Of course, there will be more extreme weather. More prayer is needed so that more grace is released. But it is certainly worth the effort. Just ask the members of the Ferguson Christian Church. The tornado imploded their church building while they were gathered to watch The Passion of the Christ. While they needed to find a temporary location to have their Easter services, they were all able to gather together since they had no casualties. They recognized the need for grace.

“I don’t know why God decided to spare our lives but I’m thankful for it,” Joni Bellinger, children’s minister at hard-hit Ferguson Christian Church, said Sunday.

That’s a non-theological heartfelt response from a woman who saw God protect her family and friends. I can’t imagine what the members of that congregation thought as they huddled in the basement while the building was being destroyed over their heads. But I can imagine hearts just as thankful as Joni Bellinger’s as they realized they were all alive and well after it was over.

The Apostle Paul teaches us that when people receive grace from God, and understand that it is grace from God, their hearts overflow with thanks.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else (2 Corinthians 9:12-13).

While Paul was speaking about a special offering, he also stated that when we serve the Lord we will be made rich in every way. The ability to call in grace for protection during extreme weather is part of the true wealth that God entrusts to his people. We are seeing the thankfulness Paul described as men and women praise God for his grace.

We will have more opportunity to see this in the days ahead as we pray in advance for God’s gracious protection for those in harms way.

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Here part of the article about the tornado. You can currently read the whole article at the paper at this LINK.

No deaths in St. Louis tornado called a miracle

By Jim Salter – Associated Press Writer

BRIDGETON, Mo. – The St. Louis area’s most powerful tornado in 44 years rips into an airport and through a densely populated suburban area, destroying up to 100 homes, shattering hundreds of panes of glass at the main terminal and blowing a shuttle bus on top of a roof. Yet no one is killed, or even seriously hurt, and the airport reopens less than 24 hours later. How?

Early warnings, good timing and common sense all helped prevent a tragedy Friday night. But on Easter Sunday, many of those cleaning up the mess also thanked a higher power.

“I don’t know why God decided to spare our lives but I’m thankful for it,” Joni Bellinger, children’s minister at hard-hit Ferguson Christian Church, said Sunday . . .

Entire subdivisions were destroyed. Cars were tossed about like toys, roofs tossed hundreds of yards and 100-year-old trees sucked out by the roots.

County officials said during a news conference Sunday that 2,700 buildings were damaged. Gov. Jay Nixon said Saturday that up to 100 were uninhabitable. The damage clearly will cost millions of dollars to repair, but a more precise estimate was unavailable Sunday . . .

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers believes divine intervention also was at work. His own home had moderate damage, but several houses in his neighborhood were obliterated. In many of them, mercifully, no one was home when the twister hit. One family was out for dinner. Another was away playing cards. Another was visiting relatives in Dallas.

“The grace of God,” Bowers said. “What else can I say?”

At Ferguson Christian Church, nearly three dozen people were gathered on Good Friday to watch the movie “Passion of the Christ” when the sirens began to blare. Pastor Stacy Garner paused the movie and hurried everyone to the basement. They were out of harm’s way as the tornado imploded the sanctuary above them.

Like hundreds of residents in surrounding communities, church members have been back trying to salvage what they could. Their Easter Sunday services were at a college campus. They’ve had a lot of help from neighbors and friends.

“It’s not just our church, but people from all over the neighborhood have come to help and clean up the mess and pick up the pieces, and try to figure out what we’re going to do from now on,” said Bellinger, the children’s minister.