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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A Year of Smiles – Day 22

smiling-sun-emoticon-with-sunglassesLOOK! THE SUN!!

After the severe storms of January 2nd, the City of Albany and Southwest Georgia sure weren’t looking forward to another storm system rolling through this weekend.  Hail, lightning, flooding and tornadoes are not the ingredients for a weekend filled with SMILES.  They are, however, great reasons to PRAY.

And pray we did!  Through each weather alert, through the continuous rolls of thunder, through every lightning strike, through the heavy downpour of rain and through the intense gusts of wind, we prayed.  Then as the SUN broke through the clouds for a few brief moments after the storm had passed, we prayed again thanking God for the reminder that even in the storms, we are never alone!

When the storms of life are brewing, we can SMILE because our God is always with us!

Psalm 91:1-4 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 

Joshua 1:5c (NIV)

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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