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Is there a silver lining in the eye of the storm? Always. God makes sure of it. His handiwork can be detected. Miracles exist in what appear to be the worst situations.
Many of my wife’s family members live in or just outside of Mayfield. That’s the small town in southwestern Kentucky that was leveled by a tornado last week.
Stories of heartbreak and devastation materialized about as quickly as the violent twister blew through the center of town, wreaking havoc and leaving widespread destruction in its path.
Allison Garber is a friend of my wife’s family. She’s especially close to our niece, Stephanie. The two were childhood friends. Though Stephanie moved to Colorado, they communicate regularly.
Allison, who lives in Mayfield, was aware of the tornado threat that night. How could she not?
Her husband was at work. Allison and her children were at home.
With reports of the tornado swiftly moving their way – they were directly in its path – Allison and her young children quickly took cover the best they could. They hunkered down in their home and hoped for the best.
About that time, Allison’s father came speeding into their driveway in his truck. The horn was blaring. Her father went in to get his daughter and grandchildren. Once they were all in the truck, they sped from the residence lickety-split.
Within minutes, the mile-wide tornado approached the home at speeds much faster than her father’s truck had traveled. The twister sounded like a freight train.
Their home and another on an adjoining property were flattened by the tornado. Allison and her children, however, were untouched – thanks to the heroic efforts of her father.
Her father saved them. Without his quick action, they could’ve been listed among the tornado’s many casualties. It was a matter of minutes. They did experience loss – their home and belongings were gone.
But they have so much for which to be thankful.
All my wife’s family members were unharmed in the tornado, as well. That’s a miracle. One of her brothers, Frank, lives a mile from the candle factory that was crushed. His house shook – which led him to taking cover in a closet – but remained intact. The only damage was from a tree that fell up against the home.
Houses belonging to my wife’s parents, a nephew and sister were also still standing after the tornado blew through. All but one home lost electricity. But her family members gathered at the residence that still had power.
My wife’s phone began dinging that night. We didn’t realize the threat they were under at the time. A text from her sister went something like this: “We just experienced an EF5 tornado that devastated Mayfield, but we’re unharmed, safe and all accounted for.” Such relief was experienced.
But my sister-in-law’s tone was different the next day after she went into town. Mayfield was unrecognizable, she said. Historic structures and businesses were leveled.
There was so much loss. But a spirit of resiliency was also evident. An Amish family whose home was destroyed already had a new structure up. It will take quite a while to restore the town, but a determination exists that will prevail.
Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend why things occur the way they do. But there always seems to be miracles in the middle of disaster. Allison likely lost already-purchased Christmas presents to the tornado. But they still have the best gift.
Sam Kaufman pastors The Church of God at 405 13th Ave. N. in Alex City. Contact him at 432-266-0154.