Late yesterday afternoon I sat spell-bound as I watched the weather channel broadcast live video of a massive, horrific tornado head toward the populated city of Moore, Oklahoma. Later in the evening the weather channel showed the aftermath. Unimaginable suffering. Today my mind is still reeling as I try to imagine how the residents of Moore must be feeling. Especially the parents. And then it hit me – the emotions those parents are feeling is the same as what parents feel whose children suffer with addictions, brain disorders (mental illness), self-injury (cutting and eating disorders), sexual identity issues (same-sex attraction, pornography, sex addictions, etc.), and other devastating problems.
In Moore, the devastation and destruction headed their way yesterday was unthinkable. Tragedy was racing toward their town, their home, their loved ones – but they were powerless to stop it. Life was about to be changed forever. No one could have imagined what was going to happen. Parents who were farther away couldn’t reach the school in time to whisk their children away from the tornado’s deadly path to safety. They could only wait and pray – in agony.
In the same way, many parents like you and me have also endured unthinkable, tragic experiences with our children. Maybe we saw the funnel cloud coming, yet were equally as powerless to stop it. We may have had opportunities to try to help them through counseling, psychiatrists, rehabs – anything we could think of – but all our efforts proved fruitless. The storm still came. Life has been changed forever. We never could have imagined it was possible. We couldn’t save them as hard as we tried. We could only wait and pray – often in deep agony, too.
Some of our sons and daughters will never fully recover from the trauma and damage they’ve brought upon themselves. Some will end up in jail or prison, while still others will carry with them long-term physical ailments.
Each of these groups of parents will experience the same stages of grief – shock and denial, sadness, bargaining, anger and depression. But with help, we can arrive at acceptance – a place of inner peace with the losses we’ve suffered.
I don’t know why these things happen except to say that we live in a broken world where bad things happen to good people. Storms come. Homes are destroyed. Children die.
The weather has calmed down in Moore, Oklahoma, today – the tornado is gone, but a huge storm may still be raging in your life due to the choices and behaviors of your child.
Receive these comforting words of Scripture for your storm-ravaged heart:
I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me . . . Psalm 23:4 CEV
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1-2 NIV
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1 NIV
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Father, please remind each parent reading this that they are not alone. You are with them and will never leave them. You will walk with them through this storm and every storm they will ever encounter in their lives. In Jesus’ Soothing Name, Amen.