XXIX. Angels fight attack of tornadoes
by Bill Hunt
Tornadoes hit with sudden terror in the nation's Mid-West. I certainly didn't expect to face a double-header. One pouring, rainy day, twin tornadoes dropped from the dark storm clouds easterly into the Tulsa streets. The neighborhood sirens sounded with gruesome wails.
My wife Mary, daughter Meg, and I scampered invited to our neighbors' underground shelter. Down through the grey metal hatch, we descended into the black hole, all soaked wet in the pouring rain. Finally underground, we felt safe.
We missed our teenage daughter, Joanna, and our little son, Daniel, out shopping. The three of us earnestly prayed for them. Tulsa is a city designed on a uniform street grid. The twin tornadoes split up along parallel routes. One headed east on 51st Street and the other headed east on 71st Street.
Driving in blinding rain, Joanna also prayed and listened to the radio announcements. By God's wonderful grace, she decided to drive home west on 61st Street. Ultimately, she passed between the oncoming twin tornadoes, one on each side of her.
There was a knock on our dripping metal hatch, and we opened it to find Joanna and Daniel climbing down the wet ladder. When they found our house dark and empty, Daniel remembered the location of the neighbors' tornado shelter. Joanna found relief from the stress of her adventurous ride, broke down, and cried. The rest of us praised God for our children's safe deliverance from the twin threat.
It happened again!
This time, the tornado formed right around our new neighborhood in West Tulsa. We found ourselves in the center of its rotation. Meg, Dan, and I formed a shelter under a mattress in the hallway where we could look out through the nearby bedroom windows and the sliding glass door.
We watched amazed as the thick rain flew horizontally in a circular motion past us, not toward the ground. The tall backyard trees actually bent double and touched their tops to the ground in the twister's high winds. The water mains broke in the street intersection at the front corner of the house. Flooding rose almost to the foundation along our small ground rise.
Meg, Dan, and I prayed earnestly in the name of Jesus and commanded the tornado to leave. God gave us the grace of faith and confidence in his care. I was amazed the glass windows and especially the glass in the sliding door did not break. It was as if the Lord cupped his hand in protection over us.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” (1 John 4:18 NIV).
Some fifty minutes later, the tornado soared from the ground passing over the river and Central Tulsa, touching down on the east side of the city. More than 50,000 homes lost power and phone lines for up to three days.
I was most concerned for Mary who worked across town at the time. As it turned out, she did not directly encounter the tornado, other than the severe rainstorms. We were very glad when she arrived home safely a few hours later.
One devastating F5 tornado hit the western region of Jefferson County and the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, on the evening of April 8, 1998. It traveled 30 miles on the ground and 32 people died. It badly damaged or destroyed 14 churches but spared all lives attending Wednesday evening services.
In one case, I heard national radio and television news broadcasts tell about two young girls huddled in the hallway at Open Door Church in Alabama who claimed to have seen and heard angels shouting above the sound of the striking tornado.
The angels held the wall from collapsing on a class of children sheltered in the hallway as the giant tornado struck. Although most of the building was destroyed, the retaining wall saved the lives of the children, bearing out the girls' story.
"It was a God thing!" said reporting journalist, James Spann. The story flashed around the country.
A tape recorder run by an adult in the hallway as the tornado hit caught the frantic conversations of the two adolescent girls. They described the angels shouts to each other over the noise of the twister during their defensive efforts to hold the shaking wall.
Yes, the armies of the Hosts of the Lord save us even from the attack of the whirlwind. From our experiences with these tornadoes, I couldn't agree more.
“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power;
the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
the clouds are the dust of his feet” (Nahum 1:3).
The Tulsa storm interfered with my phoning on job calls back to Florida. Professional friends invited me to return to work in the state prison system as an education administrator. I could phone only on neighborhood pay phones after the storm to arrange three long distance interview trips to Florida and ultimately our safe return.
(v38) Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don't you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid. Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4: 38-40 NIV).
(True story #29 in the series, “100 Million Miracles.”)
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Bill, I love this story. His angels are at work in our lives every day. I can think of a number of times He sent His angels to me and on one occasion, I know I am alive only because of their intercession. Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories with us. God’s Blessings to you and your family. . . Debby