6 Life Lessons from Tornadoes and Other Turbulence

Last week, a tornado ripped through my town, leaving a ten-mile swath of destruction in its wake. Trees demolished houses and cars.  Roofs, shingles, signs, furniture, cars, and campers ended up in places you’d never expect to see them. But miraculously, no one was killed.

Last week’s upheaval caused me to ponder. Following are lessons from tornadoes and other turbulence:

We Aren’t in Control

Many people pride themselves on organizing their lives. They create schedules and use planners to corral their appointments, deadlines, and activities into precise order. But despite all our planning and organizing, we are not in control. Sometimes life barrels at us like a 130-mile per hour swirling funnel and all we can do is hunker down until the worst is over, and then assess the damage.

Coming to grips with lack of control is difficult for many because fear becomes a factor, but God doesn’t want us to live in fear of the next twist of nature or turn of circumstances. He wants us to trust Him for each day as it comes, realizing that when tragedy strikes God doesn’t abandon us.

Events Happen Without Warning

When the tornado tore down the street across from our house, I was sitting beside a large window in my office, engaged in an online meeting and oblivious to what was happening. As rain pelted the window, the wind suddenly increased exponentially. And then I saw the entire window beside me go white.

The voice within prompted, move away from the window! I unplugged my computer, scooped it up, and ran into the hall where I sheltered for long minutes before moving to a bedroom chair. The power went out and I checked my phone to see if I had a weather alert, but none showed. I also realized I hadn’t heard an emergency siren from the fire station down the street.

We aren’t always privy to events that are about to transpire in our lives. Despite the upheaval and shock, you can experience peace by turning your focus to gratitude.

Sometimes We Don’t Realize the Level of Danger

Because I had no hint of a weather emergency I didn’t realize how much danger I was in sitting beside a 5 x 7 foot window until the world outside suddenly went white. Moments later, trees uprooted and toppled in several areas of our yard. Thankfully, our trees fell away from the house.

That was not the case at my 94-year-old aunt’s house. As she sat at her kitchen table, reading her Bible, she had no idea multiple trees were about to fall within a few feet of her, demolishing her carport and raining water into her laundry room and den.

Sometimes, we sidestep danger without realizing it. Other times, we make foolish decisions that place us in dangerous situations or with dangerous people. Events like the tornado that struck our town last week are a reminder to be aware and wise.

Expect Adjustments

“Adjuster” is a word at the forefront of the minds of many as they wait for determination of damage and how much insurance companies will allow for their losses. The damage to my aunt’s house was so severe a second adjuster is now involved.

Many events, circumstances, and relationships in our lives cause us to make adjustments. These changes may be temporary or permanent, but those who remain flexible in periods of adjustment weather life challenges and maintain forward motion more readily than those who complain and resist.

You Are Not Alone in Your Struggle

Following the tornado, I was amazed how quickly people emerged to help with clean up. Many roads were blocked and neighbors quickly appeared to clear a path and check for the safety of others. Utility employees worked tirelessly to assess unsafe situations and restore power. My aunt was displaced by the damage to her house, and many people have expressed interest in her welfare and offered to help.

When a tree sliced through the house of a homebound woman, her caregiver took her to her home to stay and offered lodging for the woman’s daughter when she arrived from out of state. This is but one example of how people responded in this crisis situation.

Often, we fail to let others know when we are dealing with life situations that knock us down and immobilize. Pride or embarrassment take over, and instead of accessing available resources and support, we struggle silently, and sometimes ineffectively. People are available and willing to help so don’t fight your battles alone.

Look for Good in Bad Situations

I see so many blessings in the aftermath of the tornado. Lives were spared. Injuries averted. Resources are available. People care and are concerned.

When storms and other types of turbulence enter our lives, we are sometimes blind to the good in a difficult situation, but with effort, we can look for and appreciate blessings and provision. God is faithful, even when events turn your world upside down. Trust him for comfort and peace in life’s storms.

“Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.” Isaiah 41:10 CEV

©CandyArrington

Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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