Terrors overtake them like a flood;
in the night a whirlwind carries them off.  –Job 27.20

See that scripture above?

Here’s a piece of advice.   Don’t show that scripture to somebody from Joplin, Missouri.  Or Reading, KS.  Or anywhere in Alabama.    That scripture, from Job, is part of a whole section where he describes all the terrible, horrible things that can happen to somebody who is an enemy of God.

Terrors in the night?  A whirlwind carrying people off?   That sounds a little bit too much like an EF4 tornado bearing down on someone’s house.    Frankly, Job, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

This Spring has been a whirlwind, weather-wise.  I’ll give you that.

Interesting word.   In the Bible, the prophet Elijah never died on earth.  Instead, he was taken up by a whirlwind to heaven.  As a kid, I always thought that sounded kind of fun, like a ride in an amusement park.  “Take a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl!”

Later, though, I discovered this passage, from Job.   This passage sounds more like the fear I encountered while hiding in my basement as a kid, waiting for the storm to pass.  This sounds like what I felt this weekend as funnel clouds passed over my house and baseball-sized hail crashed into my roof.  Luckily those of us in Topeka were spared from much of any destruction.  But other places?  Not so lucky.   Hmm.  Does that mean others were God’s enemies, but not us?

No.  I’m gonna have to disagree with Job.   I mean, do you think the people of Joplin are enemies to God?  No, me neither.   So let’s not give it much more of a thought.  I’m not sure where Job got his information, but you and I have seen enough natural disasters to know that God is not busy smiting anyone.   Tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and even big-old chunks of ice–they are all calamities that come from living on an active planet.   Nothing more, nothing less.

God is not in the business of punishing innocent people and whole cities.   That’s so…so Old Testament.  That’s what I believe, anyway.   I believe that Christ points us to  a God who comforts those who are suffering.   God’s arms around the people of Joplin even now.

And I believe Christ calls us to love our neighbors.  So, give if you can.  UMCOR is one of the best relief agencies in the world.

Advance # 3021326Supporting UMCOR’s response to emergency victims of tornado, flood, etc. caused by the Spring Storms of 2011 in the USMake your check payable to ADVANCE GCFA. Write the name of the ministry and the Advance code number on the check. Send your check with the advance number in the memo line to:Advance GCFA
P.O. Box 9068, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9068

It’s been a whirlwind Spring for weather, that’s true.   Humans haven’t figured out a way to control the weather, but that doesn’t leave us helpless.    When nature rear’s its ugly head,  we’re called to remind people that God — a loving God–is present.   Even amidst suffering.

I wish I could go back in time and remind him…

“That’s our job, Job!”

Have a great week,


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