When the mother of Moses placed her beloved son in a reed basket and sent that basket down the Nile not knowing if it would be his cradle or coffin, did she know she was being spurred in her heart to cooperate with the plan of an Almighty God to preserve the one chosen and called to stand against the might of all Egypt and one day lead the Israelite slaves from bondage?
No – I am certain she did not. She was simply trying to save the life of her son, trusting the outcome to her God.
Does Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, trapped for now in a prison cell with all distractions and freedoms removed, know that he is being detained in order for God to prepare him for the work he was born to do? Does he know the time is fast approaching when he will hear the voice of the same God who inspired the mother of Moses?
Sometimes the significance of things is discovered long after the fact. To put it another way: God shows us what we need to know when we need to know it and His timing, though perfect, can be a source of pain and struggle for us until our trust in Him is perfected.
On April 3, 1974, I was a freshman in high school. Bad weather was expected that day though you couldn’t tell this by looking out the window. When the unexpected announcement came telling us the school day would be cut short, I and my fellow students simply gathered our belongings, walked outside into bright sunshine and blue skies and boarded the busses sent to take us home hours earlier than usual.
Around 4:30, I was in my bedroom sitting at a small desk in front of the window that faced the front yard doing homework. A sudden noise caused me to look up from my work.
What I saw out the window was shocking. As the sun shone brightly and all was calm and serene, hail the size of grapefruits began to fall heavily, soon covering the grass. When it stopped, my sister ran outside to collect some for historic value, protecting her head with an umbrella in case it began falling again.
What she brought in to show us was truly unbelievable. We gathered around to examine jagged balls of ice, some of which were blue from extreme temperature. We had never seen hail the size of a grapefruit before and certainly had never witnessed it falling from the sky on a sunny day.
Something was definitely not quite right with the weather. We kept the TV on during dinner.
Did I mention the fact that our house was one of the few on our street with no basement?
After all this time, I no longer remember when it started. But I do remember vividly the terror of living through a night when thirteen tornadoes touched down, destroying whole towns around us, the most notable being the tornado that nearly wiped out Xenia, Ohio while we were spared.
The next morning, waking up from sleep that had come none too easily, we were disturbed to hear what Grandma told the family over breakfast. At 1:30 am she heard the tornado siren going off but did not awaken us, deciding we needed our sleep for the next day. I know she meant well; the concept of what to do when a tornado siren sounds was simply lost on her.
For years I referred to April 6, 1974 as the night of the Xenia tornado, when thirteen tornadoes touched down all around us. I knew it was a terrible event. In fact, we drove to Xenia to see the destruction, which was beyond belief.
Last week, I was half-asleep half-listening to TV when a story came on The Weather Channel: a documentary about what meteorologists call a Super Outbreak. There have only been two in all of recorded history. Two.
The most violent was the first one. It happened on April 6, 1974…
Wait, what was that? April 6, 1974? Ummm… that date sounds familiar. Though it was 2am I was now fully awake, no longer lying on the couch. Sitting upright, reaching for the remote to turn up the volume, I suddenly heard the words Xenia, Ohio and I knew: I had lived through the same night they were talking about.
April 6, 1974 was not just the night of the Xenia tornado when thirteen tornadoes touched down all around the tri-state area. April 6, 1974 was the first and to this day, the most violent Super Outbreak of tornadic weather in recorded history and that one twenty-four hour period was so significant it changed weather forecasting forever.
This is what really happened the day we were sent home early from school:
- 148 tornadoes touched down (not 13)
- At one point, there were more than 30 major tornadoes on the ground at once. Hindered by antiquated methods and technology, forecasters simply could not get the warnings out in time. People were dying and they knew it.
- Of the 148 tornadoes that night, six were rated F5 (the strongest tornado possible with winds often exceeding 300 mph) and 27 more were rated F4
- When an F4 or F5 tornado approaches, experts will tell you the only way to survive it is to be underground (i.e. in a basement or storm cellar like we did not have). Riding out a tornado of that magnitude in a bathtub, interior room or closet is certain death – unless the Lord miraculously protects you while your home, no matter how well constructed, is completely destroyed around you.
- While we were spared, 5500 people were injured
- While we were spared, 319 people were killed
I had no idea the significance or scale of the events occurring that night until last week – 42 years after the fact.
Though my experience of this historic event was peripheral, my new perspective has reinforced the certainty that ordinary people can go through extraordinary events with no idea at the time of their historic value.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev certainly knows he has been and is still going through hell. And he certainly knows his life as a whole has not been easy. He knows pain, he knows what it is to be alone, he knows what it is to be unjustly treated, and he is no stranger to abuse.
What he may not yet know, is that there has been a heavenly hand guiding and protecting him from birth. What he may not yet realize or have the strength to hope, is that a new life is still ahead waiting for him – a life filled with people who love him and will protect and support him.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may not yet know that he has been chosen and called by God to spread the good news of salvation to a dying world that needs Jesus.
The government carried out false flags before the one they staged at the Boston Marathon and they have carried out more since that terrible day in furtherance of their global agenda. Yet it will be the Boston Marathon bombing that people remember. The Boston Marathon bombing will continue to stand alone and the reasons for that will become clearer over time.
This event, which was surely meant to end the life of both Tsarnaev brothers, has failed in its intended purpose. The same God who turned the path of a tornado away from a house without a basement at 9pm on April 6, 1974, is the same God who parted the Red Sea. The same God who preserved a life hiding inside of a boat being shot with hundreds of bullets, the same God who did not allow that barrage of bullets to impact the 40 gallons of fuel stored onboard is the same God who will one day display His power and show just how easily He can still destroy the most elaborate plans of a godless government.
And on that day Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be set free to begin God’s work in the world. I can only imagine how he will feel and what he will say when he realizes all he has been saved from – and all he has been saved for.