About 200 families in three areas of the state worked late into the night March 25 salvaging as many items as they could.
The “long-lived” tornadic supercells plowed through areas of Bibb, Shelby and Calhoun counties (see story here).
And then neighbors and friends jumped into action to help those who surfaced from their safe places to find piles of rubble.
Report after report showcased how those with minimal or no damage ran quickly to help those with major damage.
Similar stories surfaced following the damage from more than 20 tornadoes that bombarded the state March 17.
It’s not surprising to hear — it’s instinctive to do everything we can in crisis moments.
We don’t worry about political party alliances or denominational preferences when a tornado devastates a community or another horrifying event occurs.
We merely see someone hurting and reach out to help.
The beauty of the moment can easily be missed because of the chaos swirling around the devastation, and once life settles back down the giving spirit also can quickly grow cold again.
But Easter provides the perfect weekend to focus on what our daily lives might look like if we intentionally sought to serve others sacrificially, even outside of the crisis moments.
What does it really mean when we chat in our church circles about “being the hands and feet of Jesus”?
Do we keep that particular uniform — the Jesus shawl — hanging in our closet, only to pull out when we go on a missions trip or when a tragedy occurs?
How do we reconcile the simple concept in 1 John 4:19 — “We love because He first loved us” — with the way we think about and treat others who think or act differently than we do?
Are we able to see others through the eyes of Jesus? And are we willing to love them like Jesus loves them even when they have done wrong or are making bad choices?
Pain, disappointment, frustration and fear are part of all our lives, but that doesn’t mean we need to take it out on others.
Why purposefully turn others into enemies and work to destroy them rather than do everything we can to build each other up?
And why would we not look for every opportunity possible to show those who don’t know Jesus a glimpse of the love and grace He has for them?
Sometimes I try to imagine how I will explain myself to Jesus when I make it Home.
Will I be able to point to all the times I kept my eyes on Him, trusted even when the pain didn’t seem fair and obeyed despite not being able to see the full picture?
Will others have examples of when I genuinely reflected the light of our Savior, or will they quickly turn away, leaving me to the stark reality of the selfish motives of my heart?
Easter weekend challenge: Write down what’s upsetting you the most right now and let it go, at least until Monday
You may be rolling your eyes at me after reading the headline to the Easter weekend challenge, but trust me. You will be in a better place come Easter Monday if you give it a try.
If you are a believer, then you already know Jesus will carry our burdens for us if we will let Him, but you also know that while it may be a simple concept, it’s not always easy.
So, starting with a more manageable step will provide a much-needed break for the heart and soul.
Think about it, three full days with permission not to fret about whatever it is that has you upset.
Most likely, the situation will be right where you leave it on Friday, but at least you’ll get some relief and feel a sense of peace. And what better time to submerge in a sea of peace than Easter weekend?
Focus on Christ and the events of Good Friday and Resurrection Day — and take some time to renew your relationship with Him.
If you don’t have a relationship with Christ, then let’s definitely talk soon. Or reach out to someone in your faith community.
Also, during the “no worry weekend,” spend time with or talking on the phone to family and close friends — asking about them, not venting frustrations. Avoiding political and soap box discussions will help.
Look for ways to make someone smile.