…to reorder our priorities. Like surviving a storm to live another day.

The latest (as of this writing) is St. Louis. And this deserves attention.

The St. Louis area’s most powerful tornado in 44 years rips into an airport and through a densely populated suburban area, destroying up to 100 homes, shattering hundreds of panes of glass at the main terminal and blowing a shuttle bus on top of a roof. Yet no one is killed, or even seriously hurt, and the airport reopens less than 24 hours later. How?

Early warnings, good timing and common sense all helped prevent a tragedy Friday night. But on Easter Sunday, many of those cleaning up the mess also thanked a higher power.

“I don’t know why God decided to spare our lives but I’m thankful for it,” Joni Bellinger, children’s minister at hard-hit Ferguson Christian Church, said Sunday.

This was an oft-repeated refrain. The facts support it.

The tornado peaked at an EF-4 level, second-highest on the Enhanced Fujita scale, packing winds of up to 200 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Wes Browning said. It was the most powerful twister in metropolitan St. Louis since 1967 – and eerily, it followed a path similar to that of the earlier tornado.

Entire subdivisions were destroyed. Cars were tossed about like toys, roofs tossed hundreds of yards and 100-year-old trees sucked out by the roots.

County officials said during a news conference Sunday that 2,700 buildings were damaged. Gov. Jay Nixon said Saturday that up to 100 were uninhabitable…

The twister destroyed two of the homes John Stein owns on a street in the city of Berkeley, and damaged five others. “Everything you’d find in a war zone except the bodies,” Stein said.

And yet…

Yet the common refrain was: It could have been worse. Stuff was destroyed, not lives…

Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers believes divine intervention also was at work…”The grace of God,” Bowers said. “What else can I say?”

Enough said. Other than maybe ‘Amen.’

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....