Violent, upset, record-breaking weather has once again left a trail of death and destruction. WHY do things like this occur — and what does it mean to YOU? This article from on-the-spot in the hardest hit area — northeastern Arkansas — tells you.
SIXTY-SEVEN tornadoes rip through eleven states in twenty-four hours. Incidents of severe weather such as hail, damaging winds and tornadoes totaled 146. More than seventy persons killed and 1000 injured. Well over 1000 homes destroyed and many times that number damaged in various degrees. Property damage to homes, schools, businesses, crops and livestock in multiple millions of dollars. These were the grim statistics as the latest streak of violent weather ravaged the world, and especially the U.S. from Texas to Minnesota and from Iowa to Ohio. Hardest hit was the state of Arkansas and its northeastern university city of Jonesboro.
Death in the Night
Assured that they were safely out of the severe weather area, many Jonesboro residents were watching TV, preparing for bed, or were engaged in similar evening activities. But all of a sudden, between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m., a tornado (some say they saw two) smashed into the southeast section of the city. News of the disaster spread quickly to unaffected parts of the city and to other communities. With a speed, cooperation and spirit of service that was truly commendable, students from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and private citizens joined with the police and National Guard to help in any way they could. As morning came, the terrible story of WHAT happened — the grim facts and statistics — slowly unfolded. But a far bigger question was looming in the minds of many. It was a question that was largely going unanswered. That question was simply: WHY?
The BIG Question
"People here are wondering why, WHY, WHY things like this happen," an old man whose children's homes had been destroyed said to us. Here in the "Bible belt" people talk about God — especially in a time of disaster. But they don't understand God's Plan and Purpose. They don't see that God is telling them that something is wrong — that they are sinning. Many feel smug, complacent and self-righteous. They think they are not sinning because they don't know what sin Is. They are judging themselves by their definition of sin instead of God's definition given in the Bible. GOD defines sin. It's explained in our free booklet on The Ten Commandments.
But Why Jonesboro?
But why did God choose Jonesboro to give His warning? Is it the most crime-filled, vice-infested, slum-ridden city in America? Not at all! It is a very beautiful little city (27,000) — clean and quiet. And its residents are most friendly and hospitable. But the fact still remains that it — like every other American village, town and city — is filled with what GOD says is sin. What happened to Jonesboro and the other Midwestern towns and cities that were hit by tornadoes is but a small warning of what's ahead for all our villages, towns and cities — including YOURS — if we don't change our ways. And nationally the people seem to be saying they won't! But you as an individual can change your ways. If you do, God promises you protection in the perilous days ahead (write for our free article "There Is a Way of Escape"). Learn another lesson from the tragedy at Jonesboro.
Planning to Survive
As we stood on the heap of rubble that was once his home, one man sadly told us his story. He had heard on TV that the tornado was headed his way. But, he said, "I thought it was just one of those things that always happens somewhere else." So he just kept sitting. He didn't believe that it could happen to him — until he found himself blown over his neighbor's house while still sitting in his chair, his own house now a rubble heap and his family dead. Another man said: "I knew it was heading this way because the lights went out." But he wouldn't take a warning. He just lit up a gas lamp instead and was reading a comic book as the wind lifted his house from its foundations and smashed it down in a lot across the street. Somehow, he survived. But there was also the family that built a storm cellar seven years ago — while the neighbors laughed and scoffed. As the storm approached, they quickly went into the cellar and received protection. Every house on the block was demolished — including their own. Twelve of their neighbors were dead and many more seriously injured. They escaped bodily unharmed. Now what about you — can you take a warning?