The skies are black and threatening. Shades from gray to deep purple mixed with splashes of dark blue swim in the mixture that is headed in their direction. The radio crackles with warnings: “The tropical depression has moved in our direction! It is gaining in wind strengths and could very well turn dangerous!”
Jed’s mother is great with child. She is due just any time. Mrs. Parker lives next door and has brought many children into the world, but this is Rose O’Hara’s first child. She contemplates, “I know that children have come into the world for a long time now, but this is the first time I have experienced it first hand. I pray that this child comes in a normal expedient fashion and that there are no complications.”
She has not felt well all day and is experiencing little pains. She heard that pains sometimes occur for several days before developing into full fledged contractions, but that every woman is different in the way she delivers. “Lord, keep this baby and all of us safe and healthy,” is her continued prayer.
The radio again squawks out a warning, “The cell is gaining in strength! People in Stevens and Grant Counties should take shelter immediately! This is not a watch, but a warning! A large tornado has been sighted just west of Stevens County. Take shelter now! Again I repeat, take immediate shelter, now!” Patrick’s mother and Rose, Mary Alice, whom they call “Grandma” in anticipation of Jed’s appearance, are embroidering baby blankets for the new arrival.
Rose calls to her husband, Patrick, “Did you hear that warning? We must get to the root cellar quickly!”
Patrick has been watching the skies looking for any indication of trouble. He has been to the barn trying to tie things down and to secure anything that he thinks might be in danger. Turning the horses loose to find shelter any way that they can, he hopes they will find safety. The winds are increasing. As he heads back to the house, he hears Rose calling to him. He tries to be calm even in the midst of the danger, knowing that Rose is in no condition to allow the stress of fear to affect her physically.
Patrick gently helps Rose to get up out of the rocking chair and he asks Grandma to help with anything that she thinks might be needed in the root cellar. He guides his precious cargo out of the door and takes her the safest route that he can think of. The wind has increased and there really is no safe place outside of the cellar.
The root cellar is a hole dug out under the house to keep canned goods, things that need to be kept cool and many other necessities. Rose is getting around slowly since her pregnancy is so evident. The little pains seem to increase with the added stress in her life. The doors to the root cellar are located at the side of the house. The winds are getting stronger and are pushing the family around like leaves on a fall day as the two of them carefully feel their way to the cellar. Rose tries to shield her face from the dirt that blows into her eyes. Little stinging pellets begin to cover her whole body.
Pow! Something hits close to Rose’s head. She opens her eyes enough to see a little piece of the fence that has blown off and now has the force of a bullet behind it. It lodges in the side of the house. The rain has picked up and is becoming fiercer.
“Oh, Lord help!” she cries.
Patrick nearly allows fear to take hold of him as pictures of Rose being hurt try to take over his mind.
“I will not take fear, only faith that God is our deliverer!” he says with conviction.
With each determined step they take toward the cellar, he begins to recite Psalms 91 loudly as he takes it into his spirit the way he learned to do years ago. “I dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and I abide under the shadow of the Almighty!
Rose joins him shouting over the wind, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust! He shall deliver us from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover us with His feathers, and under His wings we shall take refuge; His truth shall be our shield and buckler. We shall not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day, Or of the pestilence that walks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noonday!”
They begin to yell extra loud into the atmosphere that controls the swirling, powerful winds, “A thousand may fall at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand; but it shall not come near us!”
Reaching the cellar, Patrick places Rose against the house while he struggles with the big doors. He had not expected the storm to pick up as quickly as it did.
As he places his hands on the handle of one of the doors, he knows that the wind has the strength of a thousand men, but he also knows that he has access to more strength. He stops for a moment. “When I am weak, then He is strong in me,” he says to himself. Gathering all of his strength, He remembers Psalms 18:32. He shouts against the wind, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect!” There is a strange pause in the wind’s pressure. The door’s hold is loosened and breaks free from the overwhelming force ...