Read Nahum 1:3-9.
“His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet” (v. 3b).
It became known as “The Shot That Saved Lives.”
On March 14, 2008, Alabama met Mississippi State in the second round of the SEC Tournament in the Georgia Dome. The season had not been a kind one for the Tide, but they upset defending national champion Florida in the opening round and then fought the top seed in the SEC West down to the last shot.
State led 59-56 with two seconds left, but Bama had the ball after a timeout. Everyone in the Dome knew that senior Tide guard Mykal Riley would get the ball. Riley was “not a superstar, not even truly a scorer, because he rarely drives to the hoop. Mykal is a shooter.” And right now Alabama needed a shot.
In the huddle, Tide coach Mark Gottfried told Riley to run off a screen, grab the inbounds pass, and fire away. Exhausted, Riley prayed, “Lord, please let me hit this shot.” Alabama forward Demetrius Jemison got the ball to Riley on the left wing. State tried to foul, knowing that two free throws would do no harm, but no foul was called.
Riley let fly. The ball was airborne when time expired and the horn blared. The shot fell through the net. Overtime.
About eight minutes later, with 2:11 left in overtime, the crowd in the Dome heard a disquieting roaring sound. The roof rippled, insulation floated downward, and metal washers fell onto the court. A tornado with winds of 120 mph had passed just north of the Dome. It flipped cars over, toppled light towers, and collapsed a brick wall onto a homeless man, killing him.
But all 14,825 folks in the Dome were safe. No one was even injured -- because they were watching the overtime forced by Mykal Riley’s shot. If he had missed, several thousand persons would have left the building, many of them walking to their hotels. They would have been right in the path of the storm.
A thunderstorm washes away your golf game or the picnic with the kids. Lightning knocks out the electricity just as you settle in at the computer. A tornado interrupts your Sunday dinner and sends everyone scurrying to the hallway. A hurricane cancels your beach trip.
For all our technology and all our knowledge, we are still at the mercy of the weather, able only to get a little more advance warning than in the past. It isn’t enough as the tragedy of the tornadoes all too clearly illustrates. The weather answers only to God. Rain and hail will fall where they want to.
We stand mute before the awesome power of the weather, but we should be even more awestruck at the power of the one who controls it, a power beyond our imagining. Neither, however, can we imagine the depths of God’s love for us, a love that drove him to die on a cross for us.
This was a walking crowd. -- Georgia Dome spokeswoman Ashley Boatman
Almighty God’s power is beyond anything we can imagine, but so is his love for us.