“How are you holding up?”
Tears filled Tim Allred’s eyes as he turned to see who asked him that question while checking out of a hotel lobby in Paducah, Kentucky, Wednesday.
He and his wife, Angie Stanfield, lost their house in a tornado on Friday, December 10. The twister was one of at least 30 that touched down throughout the Central U.S. The large storm system killed at least 90 people—and more than a dozen are still unaccounted for.
In a hotel lobby, Tim met Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain Eric Hubbard, a stranger who quickly became more like a friend. Hubbard was one of more than 20 crisis-trained chaplains deployed across two of the hardest hit areas in Kentucky and until recently in Arkansas, ready to minister and comfort those grappling with the storm devastation.
>> See photos of ministry in Mayfield, Kentucky.
The night the deadly tornado hit, Tim was in Illinois for work. His wife, Angie, was in their new home in Benton, Kentucky. Alone.
A Miracle of God
When weather forecasters warned locals to get to shelter, Angie bunkered down in a small cubby underneath the stairwell. She clutched a pillow as she talked to her husband on her Apple Watch. On her phone, she watched a Facebook Live of the storm. They said the twister would hit at 9:45.
It was 9:44.
Tim heard something that sounded like a freight train. His wife started screaming, “Pray, I’m going to die. I’m going to. …” Then, her voice went silent and all he could hear was rain coming down.
Tim thought his wife and the rest of his home had been sucked away in the storm. He waited on the phone, praying, calling her name, but there was no sign of her.
Trying to find another way to reach her, Tim hung up the phone and called his son-in-law for help. He was interrupted by another phone call.
It was his wife.
That was the “sweetest voice I ever heard at the time,” he said later. “She said, ‘I’m alive, but the house is gone.’ And I said, ‘Baby, we can replace the house, but I can’t replace you.'”
The destruction on their house was stunning. The only parts left were a hallway and the small cubby where Angie huddled. The tornado sucked away everything else, and if a wall had not fallen on top of her, Angie most likely would have gone with it.
“So she’s alive and well, it was a miracle of God,” Tim said.
Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
When Billy Graham chaplain Eric Hubbard met him in that hotel lobby, Tim was checking out to move to another hotel.
The two made eye contact. Tim noticed his blue Billy Graham chaplain shirt, saw the care that “oozed” out of Hubbard, and started to share the story of his wife’s narrow escape.
Even though they had lost everything, the couple wasn’t worried. That morning, he and his wife read 1 John 4:18 in their devotional: “Perfect love casts out fear.”
“And when I read that this morning,” Tim explained, “there was a peace that came over me. I’m like ‘God is in control of this. I don’t have to worry about it.’
“You can’t rationalize fear. You can’t explain it away. No one can get rid of it for you but God. When we realize that He loves us and He cares for us, He will cast away those fears,” he said.
At the end of their conversation, Hubbard and Tim bowed their heads and thanked God for His faithfulness and protection.
Want to know this great love that erases fear? Jesus Christ offers it to you, you need only to receive it.
The Allreds are one family of thousands who’ve been impacted by the deadly tornadoes. Give to the Rapid Response Team to provide care and comfort in challenging times.