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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

A Strong Tower

Series: Flowers in the Desert

Proverbs 18:10 ESV

The Emu Bush (flower pictured) is known for being a strong plant in the desert.

It’s known for being the strongest desert flower.

It’s known for being able to withstand almost anything. The Emu Bush is so strong it represents a strong tower in the plant world.

Where I grew up we had many strong towers of a different kind.

I grew up in tornado alley.

We lived about 15 minutes from Arrowhead Stadium.

Just a few years before I came on the scene everything was a cornfield. My parents chose a lot and built a home when I was four years old. Prior to that, everything had been an open field.

Every school I went to from first grade to high school was a brand new school.

No one seemed to care that they were building new homes like crazy in tornado alley. That’s probably because we all had basements.

Pretty much everyone who lived in tornado alley knew what the sky looked like before a tornado came. I knew how to spot a funnel cloud when I was pretty young.

When it came to watching for a tornado we did not take chances.

We prayed when the sirens went off.

Even though we had a provision plan in place, we still prayed we would remember to grab everything we would need if we were hit by a tornado.

We also prayed once we were in the basement. That’s probably because deep down we knew we were not in charge of the storm.

Proverbs 18:10 tells us, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

God was our strong tower.

Many years later what I remember about all of those hours spend in the basement is the bonding we did.

In the early years we had a radio and we listened for the latest news on the storm. Later we even had a television that got reception (sometimes) in the basement.

Many years later I remember there were a few storms that were so ‘scary bad’ that the air even smelled ominous.

In elementary school I became a bit of a science junky. For years I participated in a science fair that we had every year and I did a lot of research for my projects. We also had to do a display for the actual fair. I was always interested in science. Even in college I loved science class! While science was not my major, I loved taking Earth Science and I took Botany.

We know that “A tornado forms from a large thunderstorm. Inside thunderclouds, warm, humid air rises, while cool air falls--along with rain or hail. These conditions can cause spinning air currents inside the cloud. Although the spinning currents start out horizontal, they can turn vertical and drop down from the cloud--becoming a tornado.” (

It’s difficult to explain what a tornado feels like, but because I grew up in tornado alley I remember developing a sixth sense about what was happening.

“Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the location of a tornado even if a funnel is not visible. Tornadoes generally occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.” (

I remember a few scary days when I could feel the air change. Even from the basement we could tell everything was very still outside.

I was very young when the “Kansas-Missouri Tornado” tore a one-half mile path for 71 miles on the ground from eastern Kansas to western mid-Missouri. That F5 tornado completely leveled the a town very nearby where we lived.

I have a healthy respect for strong damaging storms and I take every precaution when a storm is coming. Still, all of the planning and preparations pale in comparison to the prayers that have been and will be uttered during a storm.

When a storm is coming I know to grab a good supply of water, bread, peanut butter and jelly, milk, blankets and pillows. I know where to head for shelter.

What’s funny is that I don’t panic.

I’ve done it so many times that I automatically jump to action.

Part of the action plan includes praying as I go.

By the time I was a little older, my dad had remodeled the basement and we had a living area, a ping-pong table, and a pool table. I don’t know if adding fun elements to the basement where we spent many hours during a tornado warning was a consideration to the remodeling, but it did help.

We still prayed, but we had a comfortable place to sit and we could play games. My dad was in the Navy during World War II and he developed incredible ping-pong and pool skills! We were never really proficient enough to beat him, but we sure did try!

I learned that in the calm before the storm, God is present.

Since that day I’ve learned and witnessed that God is present in all the storms of life.

The truth is that life is messy and God is not afraid of messy.

Today’s ‘flower in the desert’, the strong Emu Bush, can withstand just about anything that passes by. No storm or drought will phase her.

We can learn a lot from God and the Emu Bush. Mostly we learn that through God, we can survive the storms of life.

Spiritual Practice: Be Strong

Give your uncertainty, or your confusion to God. Sit in silence and receive God’s strength

In God, Deborah


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