Tornado Outbreak Devastates Midwestern and Southern United States

Another disaster has struck the United States. From Friday to Saturday, a tornado outbreak of more than 30 tornadoes slammed the Midwest and Southern regions, affecting “Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee”—leaving hundreds of miles of destruction in its wake. 

Search and recovery operations are still in progress, with 300 members of the National Guard deployed to assist. CBS News reported 25 fatalities as of Sunday morning, however, the total death toll is yet to be determined. 


In the Eye of the Storm

In Monette, Arkansas, a nursing home was obliterated. Quick-thinking employees “pushed residents’ beds into the hallway and helped them use pillows to cover their heads to protect from flying glass,” even covering residents with their own bodies “as walls caved in and the ceiling was ripped off.”

In Edwardsville, Illinois, “at least six people” have been found dead at one of Amazon’s warehouses after a tornado completely flattened “two of the building’s 40-foot-high concrete walls.” An Amazon manager was mid-conversation with a local dispatcher and reported the following: “I heard a real loud vffffff, a real loud noise, and that’s when he said the garage door got snatched off, got peeled off, and it was kind of chaotic from there.”

One twister swept across what some are claiming to be 250 miles of Kentucky. The city of Mayfield, home to approximately 10,000 people, took the brunt of the damage. Along with a fire station, the police station, churches, and homes, its Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, where 110 employees were working the night shift to meet the holiday rush, got entirely wiped out. 

While early reports estimated the majority of workers to have lost their lives, on Sunday, “more than 90 … had been located.” Nevertheless, there are eight people still unaccounted for and another eight who have been “confirmed dead.”

Among them was the boyfriend of one factory employee. “I remember taking my eyes off of him for a second, and then he was gone,” she said. The couple had been “about 10 feet apart in a hallway” when the tornado tore through the building.

“I’ve got towns that are gone, that are just, I mean gone,” said Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky. “The level of devastation is unlike anything I have ever seen.”

Said Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee, whose town of Dresden amassed considerable damage, “This is about the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. … The whole town, the whole town.” 


The Love of God

Tornadoes in December are a definite rarity, more commonly expected in the spring and summer months. But when “unseasonably hot” temperatures moved suddenly into a region experiencing the usual crisp weather just before winter, it “generated numerous thunderstorms. Those rotating storm systems eventually evolved into tornadoes.”

Media reports quickly emerged enquiring on a possible link between the tornado outbreak and climate change. For Deanne Criswell, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator, the answer was clear: “This is going to be our new normal. … The effects we are seeing of climate change are the crisis of our generation,” she said while appearing on CNN.

 While climate change activists have their own reasons for the increasing spates of natural disasters and other global phenomena, the Bible actually discloses the complete explanation. Jesus prophesied to His disciples, “There will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11). This and more, He said, would occur in the final days before His return at the end of the world. These tornadoes—the record-breaking hurricanes, wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic itself—are signs of the end times.

And contrary to some opinions, God did not give us these warnings so that we would cower in fear and dread. In fact, the Bible tells us that God is commanding his angels to “[hold] the four winds of the earth” (Revelation 7:1) just a little while longer, to “not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till [He has] sealed the servants of … God on their foreheads” (v. 3). What is this seal? Why is it crucial to be sealed by it? Pastor Doug Batchelor answers these questions in “Satan’s Mark and God’s Seal.” 

God is never more present than in our greatest trials; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He has the whole of heaven working for the salvation of our souls, and to do so, He is holding in check the devil’s plans to completely annihilate us. Even in this recent tragedy, we see the mercy of our God of love.

Back in Mayfield, 90-year-old Wanda Johnson was at home in her apartment when the tornado hit. The rumble grew to a deafening roar, the windows blew out, and the elderly woman could do nothing but “[cling] to her doorframe, pleading: ‘Dear God, help me, please help me get out of here.’”

And He did. Johnson survived, along with her son and her granddaughter.

Likewise, when Gov. Asa Hutchinson surveyed the Arkansas nursing home, he marveled, “Probably the most remarkable thing is that there’s not a greater loss of life. … It is catastrophic. It’s a total destruction.”

You are not out in the world alone. You have a God who desires “that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). You have a God who is both willing and capable of saving you for eternity. The Bible clearly shows us what God is doing in these last days—what are we doing?

Find out our purpose today in “Is the Bridegroom Coming?” 

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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