The Miracle of the Arms of God
And the sun came out…
We opened our doors after the stormy night and stepped out into the sunshine.
This spring of 2013 brought devastating storms for the town where we now live. Having been raised in the Panhandle seeing funnel clouds whip across the sky between Happy and Tulia, I knew the clouds held destruction. Remembering the Silverton killer tornado of ’62, I hurried to the nearest shelter or closet. Pretty much the tornado capital of Texas, Silverton holds the record for 65 historical tornado events over a category two. Who can forget the way a tornado ravaged Tulia? When we lived in Grand Prairie, city block after block were impacted by the storms.
None of this prepared me for the ride through Granbury’s Rancho Brazos sub-division after the storms of 2013. I know…knew this area well. About eight years ago the Methodist Church we attend held Vacation Bible School out on a vacant lot there. The church had a relationship with many of the home owner because of the work with Habitat for Humanity.
Hood County Habitat for Humanity has built four or five homes each year since 1996. With over 100 Habitat homes in the county, most in Rancho Brazos, the community pride and “work to get it done” attitude developed into our church buying the vacant lot, building a structure, working with the Hood County Boys and Girls, setting up tutoring sessions and building a ball-field, playground and more. The building offered a place for community meetings. Like one boy said in his prayer one day, “Thank you, God, for a safe place to shoot pool.”
After years of leading singing with those sweet children, teaching them bible verses, watching them grown and knowing their families, the sight of the homes gone hit me in the gut. Those homes weren’t built with money, they were built with sweat and love. Now street after street, where our church bus once picked up smiling faces and drove them home looked like a bulldozer had plowed through. Many, many foundation stood bare. All of the magnificent oak trees snapped off like pencils.
My few hours in the closet on that stormy night, eating chilli and reading a book seemed like I had somehow cheated my neighbors. As my husband Dickey watched from the garage (Why do men do that? There is no way they can get to the closet fast enough if the cloud decides to drop down.)…as he watched the tornado pull up and slip passed us, we had no idea those dear children and their families were losing everything they had.
Our home is within the arms of the Brazos in Pecan Plantation. Look on any map and you’ll see the river loop around and almost touch itself, just south of the Lake Granbury dam. There, bad storms, including tornadoes, roar up to the water’s edge and the majority of the time, the stormclouds split or turn and the funnel clouds rise. The clouds move on and then begin descending on the other side of the river. Except here, once again, the river lifts the low hanging clouds. The Brazos or as the Spanish called it, Rio de los Brazos de Dios – basically means the Arms of God. I believe the river saved so many homes and lives in the storms of May. It wraps around us and hugs us as the storms pass.
It’s hard to understand why storms destroy and kill. People say, “God protected us.” Does that mean He didn’t protect others? Or does it rain on the just and the unjust? I believe God loves us all and allows a testing at times. He also has a time to be born and a time to die for each of His children. It’s His job to know and control those things. It’s our job to do our best to look out for each other and to listen to the laws of nature.
This land between the river where I live does hold a power to protect. It’s not magic or miracle. It’s the power of the river. Canyons often have the same effect. Even the little hill we lived on between Happy and Tulia could cause a cloud to move upward. I remember watching some.
A lady tells of being in her bathtub in her home in Rancho Brazos Estates, feeling the winds lifting her and then, ever so gently, a pressure pushing her back down in the tub almost like God’s hand holding her there.
We are hugged by the arms of God, weather we are protected by the river, a canyon, the only hill in the county and by God Himself. For there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Weather we out-live all our friends or beat them to heaven, it’s about how we live and love. That starts with knowing we are loved. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him…has eternal life.
Life Tip: Teach your children how to be safe in the storms of life and tell them to not watch a tornado cloud from the garage or the street or the yard.