The Theology of Tornadoes; Thoughts on April 27, 2011
“The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” – Isaiah 45:7
As a church family, we continue to pray for our Cullman community even four years after the ravaging EF4 tornado that ripped through the city on the afternoon of April 27, 2011. To this day, we still pray for those who were individually impacted by the devastating storm. My family and I were not residents of Cullman at the time, though we saw much of Cullman’s devastation on the news. We were actually living in Jacks Creek, Tennessee, a small community between Memphis and Nashville. I have always been a weather bug of sorts, fascinated about the weather to one degree or another. That particular week, I remember the long squall line of storms that produced the Cullman Tornado. It is very vivid in my memory because the night before, the northern section of that same squall line passed through our area, producing a severe thunderstorm. (I took the two pictures above from my back patio, April 26, 2011, just hours before Cullman would be hit by the same squall line of storms).
And now we find ourselves once again smack dub in the middle of what is referred to by meteorologists as “tornado season.” With this in mind, I would like to share with the church family and our community two truths that we can glean from God’s Word in light of the devastating Cullman Tornado.
- God is good in all circumstances. – God is good all the time. There is never a time when God is not good. And God in His goodness will permit things to occur in our life that from our perspective we might perceive as bad. Yet God intends them for our good and with our best interest in mind (Romans 8:28). And so in the midst of the Cullman storm of April 2011, God demonstrated His goodness to the people of our city. God’s goodness is not subject to our opinion, and cannot be framed up by the hands of men. It cannot be confined to the definitions of us frail and fickle humans. God is good when the storm passes over your house causing no damage, yet He is also good when your neighbor’s house is obliterated, or vice versa. No matter how many towers fall, no matter how many Katrinas take place and no matter how many tsunamis/earthquakes shake the earth, our planet is still cradled in the good arms of our sovereign and loving Father. Not a crashing wave, not a bolt of lightning, nor an EF4 Tornado occurs without God’s permission. So God is always good because He is sovereign, and His goodness never wavers.
- The tornado surprised Cullman but not God. – Many of the buildings affected by the tornado were historical landmarks…homes, churches etc. This was especially grieving to long-time local residents. Yet God had a plan, and His plan involved bringing down those particular structures. No Event takes God by surprise. He does not have to tune in to the news to know what is going on. Why; because He is the author of all news. God never says, “Oh wow, I did not know that would happen.” Rather, He is sovereign over every event. Those who say the tornado the was not the work of God but rather the handiwork of Satan need to get their theology straight and read Isaiah 45:7 and Job 1:12.
I pray that these two pillars of truth (which are firmly built on the foundation of God’s sovereignty) offer comfort to you as we all face another anniversary of the memorable Cullman tornado. And may our gracious God continue to lavish healing to our city and beyond!
– Pastor Eric