When you look at the devastating pictures of the May 22nd Joplin tornado, you wonder how could anything good come out of it. BUT, the truth is, so many amazing acts and miracles are being told, that we felt compelled to share some of them with you.
My favorite story is of a 2 ½-year-old little girl who with her father was caught in the tornado in their vehicle. Afterward, when she was encouraged to tell of her experience (the point being to keep children from internalizing the moment and becoming fearful and developing long-term anxiety), she told this amazing story: She said she and her dad and the “butterfly people” were in the car and…At this point she was interrupted and told that only she and her daddy were in the car. But she insisted: “No, Daddy” There were butterfly people in the car with us!” Is that not awesome?! This small child would not have known what an angel was or how to describe one, but she knew about butterflies! It was adequate to describe a miracle!
A young boy and his father were also in their vehicle and were being tossed wildly in the wind when suddenly the father looked up to see another car flying toward them. The little boy was the one who saw two very BIG angels holding the other car back. Their car was never hit by the flying car. The boy continued to say it was the BIG angels that held the other car back. Only the child saw the angels, but the father witnessed the miracle!
Another incredible story is told by a deputy sheriff who, immediately following the storm spotted a little 4-year-old boy in an open field east of Joplin. The deputy ran to get him and found there was not a scratch on him! He asked, and the little boy told him his name and where he lived-which was in west Joplin, out by the St John’s hospital that took a big hit. The deputy asked how he got there to the field. The boy replied: “The angels brought me and set me down here.” The distance was more than six miles from where he was picked up!
There is another story of a mom and her young daughter who were in their vehicle when they saw the tornado coming toward them. They got out of the car and jumped in a ditch, the mom covering her little girl. When the tornado passed, they got up from the ditch and the mom asked her daughter “are you okay?” to which the little girl replied “oh yes, weren’t they beautiful?!” The mom asked her what she was talking about and the girl replied “didn’t you see how beautiful their wings were!” The angels were surrounding them in the middle of the tornado and the child saw the beautifully colored angel wings! Mom did not see them but knew that somehow, they had been protected.
I love it when children see angels, the beautifully colored “butterfly winged” ones. But I also believe there are big strong fighting warrior angels that engage in warfare on our behalf.
Pastor Dan Wermuth of Joplin Family Worship Center (where I was a member prior to moving to Colorado), shared a number of miracle stories with us. One lady told of her car being wrapped by the wind around a pole. When the storm subsided, she found herself trapped and unable to free herself. Then a “man” in the backseat told her he would get her out. The man was able to get out and proceeded to pull her from the wreckage. It was only after the man walked away to help someone else that she realized there was no man in her back seat! Angel again!!!
Pastor Wermuth also told of a church across from the Joplin High School where people had gathered early for the evening service. They were told to get to the basement quickly. (There was one casualty in that location.) All four walls of the church fell to the basement, trapping the people underneath the rubble. Six large men arrived and lifted the four walls up, allowing the survivors to climb out. When rescue squads arrived and inquired how they got out, everyone had the same report: Six big men lifted the walls up and allowed them to climb out. And when everyone was out, they walked away, saying they had to go dig others out. All were very descriptive and emphatic about the six large men-all telling the same story the same way to the rescuers. The rescuers in disbelief explained, there is no way 6 men can lift all 4 of these walls. Can you say “ANGELS”!
A husband and wife were clinging to one another in a small closet. Their roof was sucked up and the force of the wind was pulling the wife upward as the husband desperately tried to hold on to her. He prayed, “God, I’m not letting go of her; please don’t let go of me!” At that moment he felt his arms being pulled downward and there was no one in the closet except the two of them. The unseen help was none other than God Himself, Who is ever present in our time of need. When we call on Him, He shows up every time and often just in time!
Another favorite “brag on God” story was told to me by a friend that I went to church with before moving to Colorado, Christy Geiser. I ran into her while in Joplin 3 weeks after the tornado and they had just signed papers to buy a home. Just to find a home in Joplin was a miracle in itself but there were way more details to this story. You can read their story in it’s entirety at www.joplinglobe.com and type in Christy and Anthony Geiser. The man who sold them the home, did so at about $100,000 less than what it was valued at, and since he was moving into an apartment at his business, didn’t need the furnishings of the home, so he left all the furniture, groceries in the cabinets and a garage full of tools, only taking with him his personal belongings!! Christy said they knew God was going to provide what they needed but now they think “God is just showing off! Ha!” When God shows up, He shows off. We know Him to be the miracle worker. Thank you Christy and Anthony for sharing your story.