The memories of that moment that leveled four city blocks and created a tremor the size of a small earthquake will remain for a lifetime. As the dust settles, and as people start the long arduous task of rebuilding West, many are seeing evidences of an unseen hand at work.
As West transitions from Disaster Relief to Disaster Recovery, they are continuing to witness the grace and goodness of God. Some of the churches near the blast were heavily damaged. The Brethren Church will meet this Sunday for the first time since the explosion. First Baptist has suspended all their scheduled activities to focus on prayer, worship and recovery.
This week, I prayed with pastors from the Brethren, Methodist, Assemblies of God, Baptist and Catholic churches in West. As we visited several said they were convinced there were literal angels looking over them. While no one mourns more deeply the loss of the fifteen who died than the people of West, they referred to story after story of how God protected those who survived and the remarkable fact that more did not perish.
The Bible speaks clearly about the existence of Angels. Contrary to popular opinion, angels are not people who have died and gone to heaven and earned their wings like Clarence, in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Angels have appeared at pivotal moments in history. An angel spoke to Abraham and spared the life of his son, Isaac. Angels appeared to Jacob, later to Moses, and ministered to Elijah. The angels announced the birth of Christ. And an angel stood watch over the open tomb when Jesus was raised from the dead.
Perhaps many in West are discovering in personal terms something we tend to forget. When we are in our darkest moments, we are not alone. God gives his angels charge over us. (Psalm 91:11).
First Baptist West posted this statement on their website: “As trite as this may sound, the greatest and most meaningful way anyone can help us is to pray and don't stop praying for a long time. Although this tragedy is a terrible experience and has been absolutely horrific, we have a peace that doesn't make sense and our strength is renewed day by day. Those blessings are the only things keeping us going, and those blessings come a result of the prayers of people all over the world who are interceding for us. We sincerely covet your prayers and we appreciate them more than we can begin to understand.”