Tragedy close to home: A message from President deSteiguer

Tragedy close to home: A message from President deSteiguer

Oklahoma Christian University president John deSteiguer shares his reflections on the devastating tornadoes of May 19-20.

Tragedy hit close to home this week. The Moore tornado, which struck 20 miles from the OC campus, was cataclysmic. It was massive, strong, and brutal.

Our neighbors on the south side of Oklahoma City lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, mentors, and friends. They lost their homes, their possessions, and their normalcy.

We mourn with our OC alumni and all those hurting from the loss of family members. Other alumni and students had their homes destroyed. The damage was far-reaching, and it impacted our community in many ways.

We can’t change what happened, but there are things we can do. The OC family is giving. In fact, a young OC Rwandan student gave $80 to the International Studies Office saying, “Here, use this to help people who need it.”

OC apartments have become temporary homes for displaced families and volunteer relief workers. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni have joined relief and cleanup crews. They are rallying around those in need, trying in some small way to support and honor our heroes – like the brave OC alumni serving as teachers in Moore who protected, comforted, and shielded their young students during the tornado.

Can I be transparent with you? I like answers. I like to understand. If I have answers and if I understand, I think I can fix things. Or, maybe I can prevent things. But I don’t understand this. I can’t fix or prevent or control this situation. I am sad, angry, and confused … and I feel guilty for being spared.

In times like these, though, I realize I don’t need to know everything. I just need to know Him.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.”

We pray for peace. We pray that God will calm our minds and hearts … and move our hands and feet to help our neighbors. We pray for Oklahoma.

John deSteiguer
Oklahoma Christian University