Mysterious Ways: Send Me Your Light

A tornado struck my neighborhood–I had to get home to see if my wife and grandson were okay...

Posted in , Sep 25, 2012

A frightening tornado descending on a town.

My pickup’s headlights pierced through the murky twilight as I sped up the country road through the woods. I needed to get home... if home was still there. Up ahead, fallen trees spilled out onto the asphalt like a pile of giant pick-up sticks. I slammed on the brakes. I would have to go on by foot, three quarters of a mile through the debris and the dark. I hadn’t been to church in 40 years, but now I prayed harder than ever. Please God, help me find my family.

Earlier that September evening, four funnel clouds had formed into one massive tornado just outside Nelsonville, Ohio–where I live with my wife and grandson. At the time, TV reports showed the storm was headed straight for my mother’s house, ten miles away. “I’ll come get you, Mom,” I assured her, and hopped in my truck.

I had just arrived there when my mother’s phone rang. It was my daughter calling. “Dad! Thank God you’re all right,” she said. “Is Mom there?”

“She’s at home,” I said. “I just got to your grandma’s.”

“No.” Her voice sounded frozen. “Dad, the tornado changed direction. It… it just hit your neighborhood. I can’t reach Mom on the phone.”

“No, don’t tell me that,” I said. My blood ran cold. I dropped the phone and jumped in the pickup, flooring it home.

Now, I left the truck and climbed and crawled as fast as I could through the thick debris. With a quarter mile to go, the last traces of light faded from the sky. I tripped over tree trunks and jagged remains tore at my legs. I was stumbling blind.

God, I prayed. Send me a light, so I can see my way home.

A hopeless prayer. The tornado had knocked out power everywhere. And yet… I saw a glow beneath a fallen tree, ten feet away. I staggered over and picked it up.

It was a solar powered yard light, blown there from who knows where. I lifted it, and it seemed to shine brighter. So bright that I could finally make out a safe path.

I found my house damaged, but still standing. My wife and grandson were shaken, but okay.

We all went to church that following Sunday, thankful no lives were lost in the storm, and for the guiding light that helped me find home–a light that still burned bright all through the next day.

Kenny's story came to us from Rick Seiter, a former member of Kenny's church, Connet United Methodist. "Many members of this church are financially strapped but yet hand out food baskets to others less fortunate than them," Rick told us. He says he plans to donate his finder's fee to the church.

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