On Friday about a dozen tornados ripped through parts of Nebraska and Iowa close to us. We were having our Friday family fun night—on Friday evening our family routine is to have homemade pizza, play games, and watch a movie as a family. Nothing, except for an extreme emergency, is supposed to interrupt our Friday family fun night. We agree to regularly fight to guard this time. So the Ipad and cell phones go into another room and we enjoy the relationships that God has given us as family. As it turns out, a tornado warning falls under the “extreme emergency” category and our evening got interrupted briefly this this past Friday.
What stood out to me was the way my older children responded to the situation. At about 7:20pm the tornado sirens went off in our town. The kids asked if it was real and we told them yes, we need to get to the basement fast. This was a warning which means that a tornado has touched down and is imminent.
There was initial panic at first, but after things settled down (at this point I broke the Ipad rule and grabbed it to check the Doppler radar and updates from the Sheriff) my kids, led by my oldest son, suggested that we pray. What I found remarkable is that they knew, almost instinctively, that when there is a crisis, as a family we pray to God who is bigger than the crisis. They were communicating that God is greater than the tornado. So here was a moment in real life where they were affirming the truth that God is sovereign and we can trust him in any and every circumstance.
Now I hope for my children that prayer becomes a very real and vital part of their lives as they mature. I hope prayer goes far beyond the moment of a crisis. Far too many people only look to God in a moment of crisis. When things are good, they go on living independent of him. I hope that this is not what we model in our family. We have tried as a family to model prayer both in times of crisis and during times of happiness so they get a balanced picture of what it looks like to pray daily.
But this was a good teachable moment for my kids and they did well. I encouraged them with that as we retuned back upstairs to finish our movie. But before the movie began, we gave God thanks for his protection and hearing our prayers. All glory to him. Tornados can be teachable moments.