Thanks to everybody for their prayers, gifts and other expressions of concern for our family over the past two weeks since Union University was devastated by an F-4 tornado. We took Drew back on Tuesday and the change on the campus is remarkable. Over 20 dorm buildings have been demolished and the materials removed. The middle of the campus has been swept clean. My understanding is that the first chapel of the spring will include a groundbreaking for new dorms that they plan to have ready for occupancy by fall.
At the worship service on Tuesday night, the place was packed to standing room only with students, parents, faculty and staff. As the service began, president David Dockery (who has demonstrated remarkable character, courage and steady, God-drenched wisdom from the first moment) announced that the clock tower at the center of campus, which had been stuck on 7:02 since Feb. 5, would be restarted as the worship songs began. That was a powerful reminder of the way things will continue to move forward in this season. So, as students sang, “He gives and takes away…my heart will choose to say, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord”, tears of joy and sadness leaked from many eyes…but there was a sense of hope.
I want you to hear Drew’s heart, expressed in this poem after days of reflection on the tornado and its impact:
That Day in Our Maze
This day’s events and shadowed ends
Have left me wondering where it begins
Shirts were wet from tears now dry
All these images flash in my eye
This week’s events remind me how
There is a God to whom I bow
Stranger helps stranger in loving care
Now students return with hope in the air
What a memory it was that Tuesday night
Going into Wednesday, what a sight!
It was like a maze, stepping over this and over that
God’s maze to proclaim his glory, to be very exact.
The mess of that day was overwhelming to witness
But the lives that were spared, now that’s a witness.
See God was there in the mess. He was with you and me.
He said he would be there. Read Psalm 23.
Oh what a time and what a though that day
Brings a sigh to my lips without a word to say
A shock it is that no lives were lost
It is a time like this we look to the cross
That is our courage and strength to stand
Next to our peers, hand in hand
And shout to the devil that you have not won
For victory is ours, because of what Jesus has done.
See my life will be forgotten to time
My actions will not even be worth a dime.
It is the cause of Christ that I long to spread
Without a moment to lose until I am dead.
God protected us that night 2.5.08
And will the result of our suffering be great?
Will we take our pain and turn it to joy?
Or will we just let it pass by and play with our new toys?
The words of Christ echo in my heart.
He says “come as you are.” Its never too late to start.
Do not take what happened that night as luck.
Because God was with us even when we were stuck.
In the midst of the shadows of death he was there,
To hold our hands and to keep us aware.
Now, he wants us to go spread the word.
For Jesus saves. Who cares if they think its absurd.
Please take my words, heartfelt as they are
That day’s events have definitely left a scar
Much more pain could have come from that night
But it was God and his protection that calmed my fright
The cross and its power has become reality to me.
For in that night’s horror, I still saw a cross made from a tree.
Where a man died for my sins and for yours
To save us all from the pain we might endure.
So, here is my anthem, my call, my plea
Let your mind think upon what you see,
Is the war-like atmosphere that stuck in your brains?
You see it now? Let it soak. Let it stain,
Into your heart and stay there forever.
For God’s hand of protection on us will never be severed.
That day’s events will stay with me always.
That was the day God came down and walked in our maze.