God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
I don’t know who wrote it, (update: we later found out it was Eric's sister, Elyssa) but on my parents’ living room window, where my sister Elyssa had been reading, someone has traced in the filth, “I will praise you in this storm.” Yes, our gracious God, our Savior. We praise you and we thank you.
A few thoughts from me...
It's times like this that can become very hard to be so far away. We long to help and be there! But we are so thankful that the Lord has raised up his church and that they have become the very hands and feet of Jesus. They have gone above and beyond to wash clothes, dig through rubble, bring meals, offer housing. What a blessing!
It has also been interesting to talk to the Ugandans here. So many are eagerly and earnestly in prayer for their brothers and sisters across the world. Many have also been quick to tell us that they believe that demons are in storms like that. Interesting thought...and who can look at a storm that drew a direct line between two very strong Christian homes...one that became an F2 tornado immediately before hitting the VanEssendelft's house and stayed an F2 until immediately after the Tuininga's house...who can see that and say that Satan had no part in that destruction...that he didn't delight in the chaos and damage. As American Christians, I think we would do well to learn from our Ugandan brothers and sisters and at least explore and acknowledge the spiritual warfare in all of this. And yet...the story doesn't end there...it ends in world-wide prayer to an almighty God...it ends in the church rising up...it ends in praise to the High King...it ends in the sanctification of God's people...it ends in the glory of God!! What Satan and his demons mean for evil...God always means for good!! So, yes! Let's praise Him in this storm and may the local church in Belhaven, Eric's family, and the church world-wide not grow weary in doing good, even admist the threats of discouragement and destruction by the evil one...all to the praise of God's glorious grace.