March 10, 2023

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It was November, and we were thinking turkey, not tornadoes. Right before Thanksgiving there were some 68 tornadoes that didn't consult the calendar. From EF-2s to EF-4s, they left a swath of erased homes and devastated communities across the middle of America. Washington, Illinois was clearly one of the epicenters of the violence in the skies. And the pictures from there are all too familiar; splintered neighborhoods, and residents trying to figure out which pile of rubble used to be their home, and what one reporter called "the good stuff." Like Steve Bucher, who had no home address as of the night the tornado hit. He told CNN that his attitude was "in the next minute and a half, we're either gonna be in heaven or we're going to be in the hospital, or we're going to walk out of here." Thankfully, they walked out safe, but minus pretty much everything else they had.

His next comment caused an anchorman to say, "Now that's character. That's strength." Bucher said his wallet - with about 100 dollars in it - had been upstairs when the twister hit. He knew it was gone. Later, a man came by and saw Bucher sifting through the rubble. When he asked if there was something he could help look for, he said, "Yeah, look for my wallet." Which the neighbor managed to find! Bucher said when he opened it, he knew "God has a sense of humor." There was one dollar left in his wallet! He said, "The Lord left me one dollar!"

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What Your Storm Reveals."

Believe it or not, he saw a message in that missing money: that the material stuff isn't what's important. It's the people; it's the lives and the faith that sustains them. There's something about a storm, whether it's meteorological or medical, or marital, or money that revalues everything.

When the drunk driver totaled our car and almost our family, when a sudden medical emergency almost took a loved one, when there was no money, I realized again that life is ultimately two lists: the things that really matter and the things that really don't. There can be "good stuff" in the bad stuff if the loss of some "earth stuff" that ultimately doesn't really matter can cause us to "re-treasure" the lives that really do matter. Because our lists get mixed up, with the less important migrating to that "important" column and pushing out what really lasts.

Of course, sometimes the storm takes one of our human treasures. A deep grief that a few were feeling in those tornado tracks that day - and so many were feeling in the wake of a... well, for example, there was a Philippines typhoon about the same time. And I've seen it by the side of those who've said goodbye to someone they love. In fact, I've been the one saying goodbye. But even there, you can recommit your heart and your time to those you have left. Having lost, you realize anew the "preciousness" of the ones you still have. Having grieved, you can offer yourself to be a channel of comfort to others who grieve. Having stood at the edge of this life, you can choose to live for what will matter beyond this life.

People giving thanks in the rubble. "Now that's character," the reporter said. "That's strength." It's obvious from that survivor's comments where a lot of that strength comes from. With an EF-4 monster bearing down on his house, he knew that if he died he said he was "gonna be in heaven." I suppose that could be seen as wishful thinking or spiritually arrogant. But I'm familiar with that kind of confidence about my life after death. Not fingers-crossed. Certainly nothing based on being good enough for a perfect God.

But I'm only ready to face death's storm for one reason, and in a word, it's Jesus, because He died to remove what would keep me from God's heaven. The Bible says, "Nothing impure will ever enter" heaven (Revelation 21:27). That's me. That's all of us.

I can't get into heaven with my sin. And "no one," the Bible says, "will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law." (Romans 3:20). Nothing I can do to get rid of my sin. But there was something Jesus could do, and He did it. He died on the cross to pay for it to be able to erase our sins from His book. They'll not be there on Judgment Day. And then, He walked out of His grave to prove He has eternal life.

He's ready to walk into your life today on your invitation. Get to our website. It will tell you how. It's With Jesus, you can be ready for eternity whenever it comes.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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