Pastor’s Notes 8-25-17: In Tuscaloosa as it is in Heaven

By Dr. Kevin Thomas —

Last week, I shared with you about “binding and loosing.” Jesus gives us the authority to take glimpses into heaven and replicate what we see on earth so that His prayer may become reality, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Today, I heard an inspiring story of a woman who unleashed heaven on earth in the most difficult of circumstances.

In the aftermath of the April 27 tornado, Almeda Smith sprang into action. By the grace of God, her house was spared, but there was destruction all around and, of course, no electricity service. She discovered that she was the only one in the neighborhood with a gas stove. Selflessly, she and John emptied their freezer, and Almeda cooked up a hot lunch for everyone who could get to the house. Later that day, Almeda barbequed the leftovers, and the neighborhood feasted, again.

Even as Almeda fed her neighbors, she noticed that there were some who were afraid to join in the meal. Immigrants who lived nearby were unwilling to venture out into the streets, possibly due to fears about their immigration status. Almeda heard that Target was open and was selling stable foods to anyone buying with cash. At 85 years old, Almeda and her friend Carolyn grabbed some cash and made the treacherous journey on foot through the destruction to the store where they bought loaves of bread and jars of peanut butter, to which they added Almeda’s homemade jelly. They walked through downed trees and power lines from house to house, leaving each family all the fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

In the midst of tragedy, Almeda recognized a part of her neighborhood that didn’t look like heaven. In spite of her age, mobility issues, and plenty of obstacles, she answered Jesus’ prayer to bring heaven to earth. Because of Almeda’s faithfulness, the hope of heaven appeared even in the horror of the storm.

Overnight Saturday, Almeda entered heaven. May we always remember how she brought heaven to earth. Inspired by her example, may we go and do likewise.