Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Whirlwind of a Week

It has now been a week since the tornado came by our house and went on to hit Union University so severely. Most readers of this blog have probably already seen the coverage. If you are looking for information or are wanting to keep up the three key sites are:
Union’s homepage- http://www.uu.edu/
The Official Recovery site- http://www.uurecovery.com/
Tim Ellsworth’s Blog- http://www.timellsworth.com/

Also Brian Denker recently took some great photos of the damage and he has a link to more photos. Here is one from Brian of the dorm room where my wife lived when we first met until we married 16 years ago this last week.

I personally have received many, many emails, calls from friends from many places expressing concern and prayers. The outpouring of support has been amazing and I have been very proud of the response of our students as they have been interviewed by various media outlets. I have already heard from various people about how the care of the community and the testimony of students has impacted lost family members, opening conversations with some who were previously closed to any discussion of the gospel. God is most certainly at work. He is advancing His kingdom and working things together for the God of His people.

The doctrine of providence is especially important and helpful in times like this. It does not answer all our questions, but it gives us a basis for perseverance. We are not governed by chance. We are not at the mercy of the whims of uncontrolled events. All things are in God’s hands, and, therefore, there is hope and meaning.

Disasters in life are more common than people typically want to admit- really only we in the developed West have the convenience of being susceptible to thinking otherwise. In this tornado we did not meet an anomaly. Rather we saw a stark reminder of the reality of a fallen world. We must not say, “This was unusual. The rest of life will roll along just fine.” That is sometimes the answer of pop psychology, and it is hollow. Rather the scriptures would teach us to say, “This is the sort of thing that happens in a fallen world.” It is a reminder that all things are not yet as they should be. It is a reminder that we are fallen and in need of redemption. It should cause us to long for the day when all things will be made right, when the curse is removed. It should cause us to read with more empathetic appreciation Paul’s words in Romans 16:20- “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Christian hope is not the flimsy idea that suffering will not usually come, but is the sturdy recognition of the inevitability of suffering in this life (2 Tim 3:12) coupled with the knowledge that God will eventually destroy evil and make all things right. It is this truth which has always inspired the saints (1 Cor 15:58; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 2 Tim 1;12).

Our God Reigns!

5 comments:

Perry McCall said...

How is the Ryan Center?

Good to have you back!1

Ray Van Neste said...

Thanks Perry.
Tim's blog in a very recent post has a video of us moving books from teh ceneer and me talking about the status.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Van Neste,
This is Lauren Elledge, one of your students from several years back. I'm overseas now working, but I just wanted to say hello. When I saw pictures of Jennings, I thought of you and the Ryan Center, and all of the CS Faculty and staff. I somehow made my way through the web to your blog and was glad to see that things were not as bad as I'd feared with the Ryan Center. Know I'm praying for you all and I hope that everything will go well throughout this semester.

Al & Jen Chandler said...

I'm glad you all are okay. Happy anniversary last week!! It's amazing that it is 16 years!! How's your office? I know that you like to keep your books straight and orderly. :)

Seriously, I'm glad you and your family are well.

Here is a side note about the awesome turnout and response, I came down this weekend to volunteer at UU and was turned away because of the overwhelming amount of volunteers. That was wonderful news and testimony to the action of Christ's hands!! So, I headed to Huntersville.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ray,

We've been praying for you fine folks at Union. Please give me a call at B&H and let's see what we might be able to do about replacing any books [of ours] from the Ryan Center that were lost in the tornado.

Terry Wilder