A Year of Smiles – Day 23

Smiling is very difficult today.

The devastation of the tornadoes that swept through Southwest Georgia is overwhelming.  The videos and pictures that are being posted on social media are unimaginable.  The reports of deaths, missing children and complete loss are heartbreaking.  How can anyone smile in all of this?

You can see some of the destruction here.

My home is eleven miles from the area in Albany that was totally destroyed by a powerful wedge tornado.  The storm cell that produced the tornado also covered my neighboring town.  We were threatened by the same weather conditions.  We were driven to our hallway by the same warnings of rotating winds yet we were spared.  How can I smile knowing others lost everything?

People – mothers, fathers, children, senior adults, neighbors, friends – are hurting, grieving and wondering what to do next.  They are digging through the rubble that once was their homes trying to salvage anything they can.  They are seeking shelter and food.  They are searching for answers to the one question that always accompanies tragedy… Why?  For these victims, there are no smiles.

First responders, medical professionals, search and rescue teams, police officers, utility workers and volunteers have hit the ground running.  They began their work even before the storms were over.  Some are doing without food.  Some are doing without sleep.  All are thinking nothing of themselves as they work tirelessly to attend the needs of a broken city.  There is no time for smiles for these weary angels.

Today, a reason to smile is hard to find but I do believe the smiles are on the way.  We are a strong community and a praying people.  We are here for each other.  We will lift up and encourage one another.  We will hug each other.  We will feed each other.  We will shelter each other.  We will recover.  We will rebuild.  We will trust God to bring life out of the rubble and revive our hope.  And when that hope is rekindled, we will SMILE again.

Psalm 94:19 (ESV) When the cares of my heart are many, [the Lord’s] consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 30:5b (NIV) …weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

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