After a tornado ploughed through Paducah, KY on Thursday, March 14, 2019, Sheriff Matt Carter told the West Kentucky Star:
“The Almighty hand of God has provided safety to our community. The destruction path is approximately five miles long… This could have been an extremely high fatality rate and we’re very fortunate and blessed to only report that one minor injury.”
That one injury involved a man who received a small cut when a grain bin hit his vehicle flipping it over in the ditch.
But easily the biggest miracle involved God’s protection of 40 children and their teachers attending a Christian pres-school at Mt Zion Baptist Church as the tornado ripped off most of its roof.
When the storm erupted, the teachers rushed the children into an inner room which in the end was the only area of the church not damaged by the massive tornado.
While the children waited out the storm, they sang worship songs including “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and “Jesus loves me.”
It reminds me of a story in the Book of Acts, when Paul and Silas were arrested and thrown in prison in Thyatira after they had cast a demon out of a young slave girl being used for divination by her owners. .
As they sat chained to the prison walls, Luke writes:
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:25-26 NIV)
It was a serious situation as the jailers had already flogged both of them. But as Paul and Silas sat in their prison cell, the two men not only prayed but began singing hymns. During the night, an earthquake not only sprung the prison doors open, but also broke the chains attached to the walls.
Paul and Silas’ decision not to run for freedom resulted in the jailer and his family’s salvation. In these situations, the Romans held jailers personally responsible for escapes which could result in imprisonment or even death.
This wasn’t the first time, God provided divine protection as people sang praises. When Judah was under attack, King Jehoshaphat sent singers worshiping and praising God out before the army:
21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 22 When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. (2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NIV)
Notice how it says when they began to worship, God ambushed the enemy. There is a definite correlation in this verse between worship and God moving on our behalf.
Yet, when we are under stress, worship is probably the last thing many of us consider doing.