Character and Hope

The tornados last week in Oklahoma were certainly tragic. Despite the high death toll, it could have been worse. Two years ago I spent a few weeks training and certifying Army Reserve Units in that area. While our work tends to focus on chemical exposure, containment and decontamination, these units can be used in mass casualty incidents such as this. It is highly doubtful that the soldiers we worked with then are still “on mission” now or even in the same field of training. We did use a tornado as our training scenario, hopefully our work paid off for them and the civilian responders that participated. Tragedies like this become a great source of inspiration for the devil to create doubt in our minds: “Would a loving God allow such a thing to happen? How could a righteous God let innocent children suffer so?” We cannot explain it nor can we begin to comprehend God’s plan and what meaning something like this has in our lives yet alone the lives of those that suffered such great losses. Despite what the devil spins, God was present last Monday; He protected thousands of lives. St. Paul’s letter to the Romans speaks to us specifically this week following such great suffering.

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 5:3-5

I’m sure the people of Oklahoma are suffering and cannot see the value of perseverance or character right now – but they will. They will see the hope in man-kind when thousands of volunteers show up to help them rebuild. They will see hope in the donations that will pour in to replace clothes and provide shelter. They will be stronger because of what happened to them, their character will be strong and they will have learned to persevere. We look upon these tragedies as horrible but as the end-times approach, we all will need perseverance, character and hope to stand up to the devil and the destruction he will bring before Jesus descends to earth to bring us all home.  This is not the time to doubt God’s plan or His love for us. It’s time to renew your hope in Him because He continues to fight for us and these works of the devil will be defeated once and for all when Jesus returns to call us home.