I have sat down to put onto paper my feelings about the storms that passed through our beautiful city on December 11, only to find myself looking at the blank page with questions and no answers.
I recently drove over to Moss Creek and parked my truck.To get there, I passed the house my baby sister brought her babies home to. I walked the block with a bright blue, cloudless sky above me. The remnants of the houses left altered were intermittently surrounded around the block as foundations of others lay bare of the homes and lives that made this neighborhood unique. Orange spray paint x marked the spaces that had been searched. Red cards posted warning that the walls and roofs altered are not safe for habitation. A pile of rubble waited to be weighed by FEMA was littered with toys once well-loved and a Radio Flyer red wagon twisted to a point of no longer being of use.
My head was filled with images, and my heart usually flowing with words collected could only come up with one:
It is a first response. An easy response. And one I wish I had enough faith to avoid. Yet, it lingered in my heart. It lingers still from time to time.
As the national news tells the stories of the storms, there is a thread that passes through every story. Somehow Kentucky has been credited with giving “a master class in decency and resilience.” A storm which took but minutes to change the landscape and the lives of so many, also changed the hearts of our city is being met with a spirit of love and community that, I hope, will last for a lifetime.
In a time of distress, the Israelite prophet Elijah fled to the hills awaiting the presence of the Lord. As he bowed in the waiting the Lord passed by, there was a wind. It was strong enough to cause the rocks to shatter and the mountains to break. But that was not the presence of the Lord. Then the earth quaked. That was not the presence of the Lord. Finally, a fire came. Again, that consuming power was not the Lord. As I have meditated on this I have been captivated by the idea that in anticipation of the presence of God, even the earth will tremble.
But what brings me hope is the fact that God showed up in a gentle whisper.
Over the past two weeks I have had the amazing opportunity to sit in the presence of grieving families. I have witnessed a community of people gathered in purposeful love and compassion. I have seen the empathy of neighbors and the helping hands of people from all over the nation offering essentials to the people who have lost so much.
God showed up in Bowling Green. He is love. A gentle whisper of the purest form of love has surrounded our city after the wind blew and the earth trembled. I have seen love in gentle whispers; a love that has more power than the wind, the quake or the fire.
My questions of why will persist, but I will try to be satisfied by actively pursuing to be a messenger of the gentle whispers.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12