The deafening rumble of thunder shook the windows of the two story A-frame log home, bringing eighteen year old Arlissa Montgomery out of a deep sleep, looking at the clock on the bedside table to her left, she groaned aloud, 2:00 a.m. Throwing the covers back, she slid off the bed and rushed from her bedroom, just as the wailing cries of her 2 year old sister Mia filled the hallway.
“It’s alright Mia, I have you” Arlissa cooed in a soothing tone as she cuddled her baby sister close.
Their parents, Steve and Trina Montgomery had left the morning before on a business trip in Nashville Tennessee and wasn’t due back until late Tuesday Night, three days away.
Another crash of thunder shook the house followed by vivid streaks of lightning piercing the sky, illuminating the dark house. Suddenly, it calmed, the thunder stopped, the wind died down and all was quiet. “Mia wrap your arms around my neck and hold tight do you hear me. Don’t let go.” Arlissa said, as she hurried down the short hallway that led to the stairwell taking them to the first floor of the house.
Running down the stairs, Arlissa veered to the right, went through the dining room to another door, which would take them to the basement, she knew what was coming, it was a tornado. Throwing open the door, they took the stairs two at a time. Arlisa stopped short of the basement landing and listened, she could hear it, the sound of what many people had called the unforgettable sound of a tornado, a whistling train.
The wind seemed to moan and howl, causing the two story home to crack, and moan to the onslaught of force. Once in the basement, just to the left was a solid steel door, her parents had been adamant about having protection from tornado’s and thus the storm shelter was build within the wide room that was mostly used for Mia’s play room.
Prying the door open, Arlisa placed Mia, who was now screaming onto the cot on the right side of the room, she then lit the lantern and shut the door behind her.
Three locks clicked in place, the door was secure. Moving to Mia, Arlissa scooped her trembling sister into her arms and spoke softly. “God is with us Mia, mom and dad will be on their way and everything will be alright.” Closing her eyes, Arlissa prayed right then and there.
She had just recently accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior the following week and couldn’t begin to describe the amazing changes that had taken place within her life and the lives of her family. She knew that God was with them, she could feel His presence protecting them from the fury of the storm.
After praying, Arlisssa hummed softly while cradling her sobbing sister, while the tornado reeked it’s destruction. What seemed like hours to them were mere minutes, then again everything calmed except for the pouring rain. Sitting her sister on the cot, Arlissa smiled softly to her. “I need to go see if it is over with.” She said then pried open the door and nearly fell to her knees. There was no way for them to get out. The house had basically collapsed ontop of them. Closing the door back, she did fall to her knees and wept and began to pray again.
“Thank you God for saving us, I know that you are still here with us, please God I pray for a way for us to get out, please show us Your mercy and bring us out once more.” Arlissa prayed then got to her feet and went to cuddle Mia who had just about fell asleep. Leaning against the wall, their eyes grew heavy and found themselves drifting into sleep, but before drifting off to sleep; Arlissa could have sworn she heard a voice whisper ever so softly, “I am with you, don’t be afraid.”
Four Hours Later
The sound of people calling her name awoke her, sending her scrambling to her feet, nearly dropping her sister onto the floor. Mia, of course started to cry. “I am sorry baby.” She said then shifted her sister onto her left hip and moved to unlock the door. Throwing it open, she could here power saws and see the shifting of debris.
“WE ARE HERE!” she yelled out then began to cry.
Soon a pathway way was cleared and one of the towns firefighters greeted them. Arlissa felt weak in the knees as he reached their side. He smiled to her as a warm blanket was wrapped around her and her sister. Lifting his radio he said. “ I have them, they are safe.” Arlissa began to cry as the man guided them carefully out of the rubble that was once their home. Once outside, they were greeted by the most beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine, along with the worried faces of their parents. Wasting no time, Arlissa ran to them, she and Mia were embraced lovingly by their family. Tears were shed. They were all safe.
The next Sunday all the Montgomery family came to church and before the preacher began to speak, Arlissa stood up and asked if she could speak. It was a total surprise to her family as well as to her, but God was moving so powerfully within her life, she just had to share what happened.
Nervously she stood up at the pulpit and looked to the congregation. “I felt the need to share with all of you what God did for me and my sister.”
“I felt God with me and my sister the morning that F3 tornado ripped through our home. I asked God to protect us, and He did. He wrapped His loving arms around us and saved us. I knew that we were not alone, that is the way it is when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are never alone again. He is always there with us, no matter what storm we face.” She said as tears streamed down her face. “ I am asking you this morning, if Jesus is speaking to you, let Him in, don’t face another storm in life without Him. He is there waiting for you to say YES. No one else can do it but you.”
Arlissa looked to her pastor who had tears streaming down his face as well and smiled. “Thank you for letting me share this with them.” Then stepped off the stage and took her seat, her parents both hugged her so tight.
Bro Ed stood up and walked to the pulpit and said softly. “ Arlissa has shared with you something very powerful. God is there. He loved each of you so much that He gave His only son Jesus to die on that cross so that the bonds of sin could be broken; He has set us free, gives us eternal life and forgives us of our sins, if you say YES to Him. Do you hear Him calling your name? Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we come to you right now praising Your Holy name and Praising You for the storms in our life. Lord Arlissa has shared with us that You are always with us, never alone are we. Lord I just pray right now that those that do not know Youu will come here and now to accept You as their Lord and Savior and have the same tranquil peace as she had the night the tornado hit their home. Dear Lord I pray that You will just open our eyes and our hearts to see all the wonderful things you have done in our lives and the lives of others. For it is in Your precious name I pray. Amen…
As the invitation was given, four people said “Yes” to Jesus that morning and left with a new peace and a new joy within their life.