, Muskogee, OK

April 7, 2014

Spiritual storms deserve attention, too

By Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— My yard is still soaked from the recent rain (and hail). What a day that was! The wind blew so hard during Thursday’s storm that water forced its way into our garage. Debris including limbs, leaves, and dirt was scattered around my back porch, sidewalk, and throughout the yard, and hail shattered a large light in our flowerbed.

At least these damages are easy fixes. But I drove through Moore and Shawnee twice last month. Their tornado devastation is still shocking to witness close-up even a year after it hit. Entire sections of mature trees that once stood tall and strong are mangled messes. Roofless houses still bear the scars of the killer twister.

As a society, we pay a lot of well-deserved attention to the effects of serious weather-related storms. People all over the region were very kind to our area when the ice storm of 2007 hit. As a nation, volunteers from everywhere rush to help wherever and whenever natural disasters occur. Even now, long after the May 2013 tornadoes in Oklahoma, there are still groups who travel to the affected areas just to serve in whatever way they can, and brighten someone’s day. And from what I saw last weekend, there are still plenty of ways to help.

Spiritually, what can we learn from the urgency and attention placed on natural disasters? The first thing that comes to my mind is that if we are willing to pay so much attention to weather-related devastation (and I am glad we do this), why are we not just as urgent and deliberate when it comes to something much more important such as the salvation of souls? What if everytime we knew someone was going through a spiritual storm, struggling with temptation, we made a deliberate effort to help them avoid falling into sin, just like we would help a vulnerable neighbor get to safety if we saw a threatening storm approaching.

I would love to see the lead story of the nightly news convey the importance of walking with Jesus, avoiding sin, and being ready for Judgment Day.

On a personal note, I cannot adequately convey just how grateful I am to the Fort Gibson Times and the Muskogee Phoenix for allowing me to write this Fort Faith column for seven years now. I don’t pay them, and they don’t pay me. But so far it seems to work out for both of us.

Whether you agree with me or not, I always try to convey my thoughts in a way that reflects the Bible’s intent on any given subject.

The bottom line is that God’s word is complete, and it gives us everything we need to find our way to heaven if we will follow through with His plan for us.

May God grant each of you the perseverance to deal with life’s trials (ref: James 1:2-4).

Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or