I had this odd moment last week. The weather system that had been causing tornado trouble in Kansas, Oklahoma, and so on had finally made its way to the Kentucky area. Of course, the weathermen all sounded like Harold Camping proclaiming the end of the world was imminent. Admittedly, I was scared. What if a tornado touches down on my street? What if my house, and everything in it, is wiped out? What if I’m wiped out?
So I went to bed that night waiting for the monstrous system to pull into town. I had a weather radio and candle ready and kept my sandals by my bed. If I had to make a sudden run to the basement, I wanted to be ready. I fell asleep shortly before midnight and a half hour later I awoke to loud booms of thunder and bright flashes of lightning. My heart pounded a hole in my chest (not literally, mind you). When would it come? When would I hear the sirens? the “train sounds” of the tornado? Should I run to the basement or just stay there and die?…
And then I had an apostrophe…i mean, epiphany. If a tornado came and sucked me to my doom, I totally deserved it. Why? Because I’m a sinner? well yes. But i know I’m saved by grace through Jesus Christ. So I didn’t necessarily think that just being a common sinner warranted death by cyclone. What would warrant such an end would be that I, a Christian committed to Jesus, strays so often from the faith I hold dear. I am so unfaithful to my God…i’m like a dog returning to its vomit..like a lecherous man going back to his whore.
With all my daily screw-ups, with all my daily sins, with all my cries for forgiveness and protection followed by my wanderings off the narrow path, for all my love of rebellion, why would God remain faithful to me? Why does He show me mercy when I deserve to be killed? He’s the One who found me in the gutter and brought me to His own home. So when I keep sneaking out at night to return there, why doesn’t He just leave me to my ways? cut me off? cancel the adoption?
Because that’s the mystery of mercy, love, grace, and hope. Even though I know what’s right and struggle time and again to do it, God gives me another chance…because He doesn’t just see me in my imperfections..He sees Jesus in His untarnished perfection. And so, a tornado didn’t whisk me away to darkness…but a storm startled in me an awe of the power and holiness of God mingled perfectly with love and mercy.