Piles of rubble. Broken telephone poles. Scattered clothing. The pictures of Mayfield, KY after its tornado disaster in December of 2021 were devastating. Buildings that were beautifully designed and sturdy stood with missing roofs and shattered windows. Rows of houses laid flat. There was a heaviness in the pictures. The decimated homes conveyed a sense of hopelessness, insecurity, and uncertainty. They confronted us with the truth about the frailty of this life–that a place which brings comfort and stability can easily disappear.
The night of the tornado, my city also experienced severe weather. The authorities issued a warning for west Tennessee around midnight. My husband and I rolled out of the bed and stood in our closet for shelter. The tornado siren rang loud in my ears. Thunder shook the room. Hail beat down on our roof. And winds swiftly crashed oak tree branches into our siding. I was nervous that a tornado would touch down and catapult our new, little house to the moon. But after about 30 minutes, the chaos calmed. We went back to sleep, not knowing the level of damage the storm brought to nearby areas.
The morning after, I checked my phone for updates and saw the catastrophe. I called family in Kentucky to see if they were safe. Fortunately, all was well on my end, but I felt much sorrow for the ones who did not have the same experience. I felt guilty in a way. The tornado could have wrecked my home too, but by God's mysterious providence, it did not. I prayed for the Lord's restoration to come to the people of Mayfield, and I thanked Him for protecting us.
I was also convicted. For the last few months, I had been obsessing over my house. Reading home renovation blogs, choosing design inspiration, and shopping for household items filled my evenings. I focused on perfecting my house because I believed it would bring peace and stability. But the tornado incident taught me that I had idolized earthly possessions and that a physical home was not guaranteed forever.
Our true home is with God. Everything in this life will pass away. The soft bed with its duvet cover will wear down. The dining table plate set will break. And the favorite leather chair in the living room will age. Earthly possessions will not last into eternity, but our relationship with God will. The Lord is unchanging. When all other structures fade, God remains consistent. The Lord offers Himself as this steady presence of peace, comfort, and security in our lives, but we often settle for things that do not satisfy. However, God has provided a way for us to have a permanent home in Himself, and that way is through Jesus's saving work.
Scripture highlights God's desire to dwell with His people. In the Old Testament, the Israelites constructed a temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God. In this structure, the glory of the Lord rested with Israel. Having an ornate design and grand scale, the Jerusalem temple was a picture of God's heavenly house. But like other homes in this earthly sphere, the temple experienced the impact of sin and brokenness. In Scripture, we see that the temple was subject to poor management, invasion, and destruction.
During His ministry, Jesus indicated the future fall of Jerusalem and pointed to His fulfillment of the temple. For instance, John 2:19–22 says, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days." Therefore the Jews said, "This temple took forty-six years to build, and will you raise it up in three days?" But
Through our faith in Jesus's life, death, and resurrection, the Spirit of God dwells within our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22), and our bodies become the houses of God. Though our earthly homes may be ruined due to environmental tragedy, we can still have joy because we stand on the unshakeable foundation of Christ. The Holy Spirit is building us in the image of Jesus until the day He returns (Ephesians 2:19–22). So though we will one day go to the grave, we will receive an indestructible inheritance: Christ prepared for His people a place in the eternal home of God (John 14:1–3). This place will be one of everlasting safety, contentment, and beauty because all brokenness will be gone, and God will be completely near.