Last night as the sirens went off and severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, extreme winds, hail, and tornadoes passed through eastern Nebraska, we were instructed to seek shelter. Our church basement next door serves as a tornado shelter for those residing in mobile homes, and without underground shelters, in town. Beside 30 women, men, and children who I had never met (and their pets), my family and I sought safety and security as we waited for the inclement weather to pass—unsure of what damage would be left behind. This extreme situation was not an opportunity for evangelism, but one of ministry amidst necessity. Perhaps I could have come down to the basement and introduced myself as the pastor, laid out rules in using the facility, and given some erroneous speech on this being a ministry our church does in the name of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Instead, my family and I sat beside, ate popcorn with, and talked to people who simply needed a place to wait out the storm. The church is a place where people gather together to receive God’s grace amidst all of life’s storms. In that hour or so, we were able to serve unintentionally as the hands and feet of Christ—the church—for these people and their pets by an act of God.
Whether it was an act of God [sic] or an act of God, I was brought out beyond my comfort zone, called to serve, and placed amidst sisters and brothers who needed a place of relief from the overshadowing storm that was threatening each and all of our lives. Did God cause this storm--which led to much damage across Nebraska—merely to open my eyes to the needs of others? NO. Yet, in the depths (no pun intended) of yesterday’s storm, God was present--acting in ways beyond my understanding. By this act of God, the Spirit worked in and through me to love, support, and care for others in need. May we serve others in need in all acts of God [sic], and may we see all opportunities to serve as acts of God.