A Refuge from the Storm


Some students recall hearing the principal of Plaza Towers Elementary School telling them over the intercom to go to the cafeteria and wait for their parents. But then the tornado alarm sounded and selfless teachers of this school in Moore, Oklahoma, frantically tried to secure their students’ safety. The tornado struck the school. Seven students were killed. But many were saved due to the heroic efforts of their teachers.

Rhonda Crosswhite, a sixth grade teacher at Plaza Towers, and several students, sought refuge from the twister in a school bathroom. As the tornado tore through the building, she shielded three of her students with her own body.

“It just started coming down so I just laid on top of some of them,” she said on NBC’s Today show.

One of the students Crosswhite shielded, fourth-grader Damian Britton, said the tornado “sounded like a train coming by.”

“A teacher covered us — Ms. Crosswhite,” Damian said on the show. “I told her we were fine because we were holding onto something. Then she went over to my friend Antonio and covered him. So she saved our lives.”

“The whole time I just kept screaming to them, ‘Quit worrying, we’re fine, we’re fine,” she told the Today show hosts, adding that she was unsure if her attempts at reassurance could be heard over the twister. Yet she kept reassuring them. “We’re going to be fine, I’m protecting you,” Crosswhite recalled telling the students. “Then I said a few prayers: ‘God, please take care of my kids’ — and we’re fine.”

The students shielded by Crosswhite were relatively unscathed. One student had a cut on his head. Crosswhite had cuts all over her back and feet — she was wearing sandals.

Damian’s mom, Brandi Kline, said her home was destroyed — but she was grateful her family was okay. “Everyone around us lost everything,” the 29-year-old mom said, referring to her devastated neighborhood. “But we have our kids,” she added, tearfully thanking Crosswhite.

Thankfully, we also have Someone to shield us from the deadly destruction of sin...

As sin wrought havoc in the lives of all mankind, God, because of His great love for us, sent Jesus to our rescue. He "shielded" us from the deadly blows of sin with His own body as He died on the cross for our sins. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). He died for us so that we might have forgiveness of our sins and receive the GIFT of eternal life (Eph 1:7; 1 Thess. 5:10).

Jesus will save those who seek refuge in Him by: placing their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to shield THOSE who continue to trust Him enough to follow Him (1 John 1:7).

Many children are thankful for the heroic efforts of teachers like Rhonda Crosswhite who risked their lives to shield them from the storm.

And ALL of us can be thankful that Jesus gave Himself for us to shield us from the eternal destruction of sin!

By His wounds, YOU can be healed IF you will trust and obey Him.

Won’t YOU?

David A. Sargent

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