The devastation in Joplin is unbelievable. When I see the pictures of the damage my mind struggles to take it all in. We have been near or in storms all year and I have been moved by the destruction and suffering of the people that are affected. But this storm feels different.
Maybe it is because we are so familiar with the area. We have been in the Wal-Mart, Lowe's Home Depot and many other of the businesses that were destroyed and where real people lost their lives. We have slept many nights in the parking lot of the Flying J that was hit. We have eaten in many of the restaurants that now are only rubble.
Or maybe it is because we know so many people that live in Joplin and very many more that live close and work or do business in Joplin every day. Their lives will be shaped for months and years by the tornado that lasted only a few minutes Sunday night.
Maybe this one feels different because we have friends who are there assisting in the recovery and clean up and we are hearing first hand, real time reports of the destruction and suffering.
Or maybe this one feels so different because the death toll has risen so fast and so high. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said this morning that number had risen to 117. Others are reporting that is the highest death toll from a SINGLE tornado since 1953.
Very many moms, dads, spouses, brothers, sisters and little children will never forget May 22, 2011 because their loved ones were ripped away from them that day.
My guess is that all these things combine to make this tornado different in our hearts and minds. I know this much, I have been compelled to pray passionately, give liberally and do anything else I can to encourage those that can certainly use the boost right now.
Please join me in praying and giving. We never know when the tragedy may come to our door and then it is certain we will reap what we sow.
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