Summary: The sorrow we experience as we witness the devolution of culture creates a longing for Heaven and for Christ.

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” [1]

Dark clouds glowered, sending a chill down the spine of anyone who paused to look at the ominous cumulus clouds rising in the northwest. A friend advised me to tune to a local station to see if there were any advisories issued. I caught the tail-end of a tornado warning. Multiple tornados had been sighted around Duncanville. Our girls were in school at Fair Meadows a block and a half from our home. Lynda and I were twenty-five miles away, working at the church in the heart of the city.

I phoned over to the nursery where Lynda was working. I told her to bring our son and a neighbour lad who was spending the day with us and meet me in the garage. We needed to be near our girls. She checked out of the nursery and hurried the boys across the street to the massive six-storey garage. As I passed through the lobby of the building, one of the secretaries working at the front asked if she might catch a ride to Duncanville if I was heading home. I told her to hurry as tornados had been sighted around Duncanville and one was approaching DeSoto.

We were all situated in our Oldsmobile Cutlass, Lynda with the two little boys in the back seat and Carlita in the passenger seat. I pulled the car out of the garage, easing onto Ervay Street and began the trip home. It would take about thirty minutes, but we would be able to pick up the girls when they were let out of classes. We were wary, but not overly concerned. The girls had already participated in several tornado drills that spring. At the first siren, all the children would move quickly to the northwest wall where they would kneel down with their heads low to the floor.

As soon as we were in the car, I tuned the radio to WFAA, listening for tornado alerts. Nearing the Red Bird Mall, the announcer intoned the warning that a tornado was moving through DeSoto and heading toward the Red Bird Mall area. Looking up and to my left, I saw the ominous sight moving rapidly toward us. We and the tornado were about to intersect.

I saw an underpass just ahead and I pushed the accelerator hard, willing the car to reach the shelter if would provide. Approaching the underpass, I braked hard and shouted to Lynda, “If I yell, grab Johnny and I’ll grab Stephen. Get out, put Johnny under you and lay down in the ditch.” Though the car was in park and the emergency brake set, I could feel the wheels grinding across the gravel as the tornado passed over our tenuous sanctuary. The sound was deafening, more frightening that anything one could imagine. Nature’s raw power was terrifying.

As suddenly as the noise had begun, it stopped; but the momentary silence was a harbinger of something almost as ominous as the tornado had been. Suddenly, we were subjected to pounding hail crashing down to destroy anything still standing after the whirlwind. The icy stones were about the size of baseballs, hurtling to earth at speeds sufficient to destroy automobiles and kill or injure anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the open. When the hail abated slightly, I eased the car onto the highway again and drove the remaining five miles or so to the exit that led to our house.

We drove Carlita to her house before driving to the Fairmeadows School to pick up our girls. The roads were littered with downed trees left in the wake of the raging storm. We were forced to weave our way through the debris littering the streets. Power lines were arcing and some houses showed signs of damage—roofs missing, windows smashed, trees toppled. We had again witnessed creation groaning.

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