David Young: In The Eye of the Storm
By Robert Hull with Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
Mia Evans-Saracual [reporting]: On the afternoon of Good Friday, David Young went for a run on his favorite running trail near his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. David is a pastor and wanted time to pray and prepare for the upcoming church services. He began his run despite the ominous clouds on the horizon.
David Young: I knew there were storms coming. I didn’t know we had a tornado watch, certainly didn’t know about a tornado warning.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Two miles into his run the storm arrived. David didn’t know it, but the full force of an EF4 tornado was headed right for him.
Young: As it starts to rain I recognize it could get serious here but I was really kind of excited about it. I thought, ‘I’ve been looking for some kind of survival situation and here’s a good one.’
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: David had been through storms before. While winter backpacking a few months earlier he panicked as hypothermia set in during an unexpected storm.
Young: Every day since that backpacking trip in February, I had been saying to God, ‘Don’t let me panic. You keep me calm no matter what happens. I will have confidence in You, if You’ll give me this gift. So even as I was running the two miles I had been role playing disasters in my head. I thought this was the answer to my prayer. Instead of giving me faith, He was going to put me into a situation where I had to have faith.”
Evans-Saracual: When was the point that you realized you were in trouble?
Young: I could hear a rumble in the distance. My head kept saying to my gut that there is no way this is a tornado.
Evans-Saracual: What did your gut say?
Young: This is a tornado. You’ve been asking for a test. You’re about to get your test, and it’s going to be awesome. I knew that I was facing a survival situation, but I didn’t worry about failing it.
Evans-Saracual: When you say you never worried about failing it, what do you mean by that?
Young: To me, failure would not have been death; it would have been a lack of faith. I had been asking God to give me faith. I was committed. I will not lose faith regardless of what happens next. I will not panic.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Across town, David’s family huddled together in a grocery store as the tornado passed by.
Young: My 13-year-old son wouldn’t sit down. Instead he stood up, and he was just pacing back and forth. Several of them kept saying, ‘You need to come over here with us.’ He kept saying, ‘If it’s okay with you, I’m just going to pace and pray for my dad.’ They didn’t know I was out on the trail.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: As the tornado approached, David darted off the trail and wrapped himself around the base of a nearby tree.
Young: I began to hear the forest explode above me. The sound of the trees crashing was unbelievable. It was a thousand trees exploding all at once. It was almost deafening the sound of the trees, and when it hit me, the wind went from 10 or 15 miles per hour to 200 miles an hour all at once.
Evans-Saracual: But you didn’t let go.
Young: Oh no, I wasn’t going to let go. Wherever the tree went, I was going, but I was not going to let go of that tree.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: David held tight as the winds lifted his body in the air. Bushes and trees were uprooted and smashed all around him.
Young: Then the eye of the tornado passed over me. So I dropped down and curled around the tree again. As I looked up, it was the most phenomenal thing I’ve ever seen. It was peaceful. It was calm. At the very top of the tornado, the debris didn’t move to the left or right; it moved up or down. My first thought was that I’m in heaven and these are angels dancing up and down -- angels performing a little ballet. I remember feeling warm and loved and thinking to myself, ‘This is the greatest gift God could have ever given me.
Evans-Saracual: You felt the love of God.
Young: It’s hard to explain that, but it’s true. I felt God’s love right in the middle of the tornado.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: But David’s moment of tranquility was short lived
Young: Then when the back wall hit, it hit with as much violence as the front wall. It began to drop things. It didn’t feel as though trees were dropping; it felt as though they were being thrown down on the ground hard.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Two trees came crashing down on top of David. One smashed his left leg, and the other hit his head, giving him a concussion and a deep gash, but he was alive. As the tornado passed, David scrambled over the debris and made his way up towards the street. The reality of what just happened began to sink in.
Young: It looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off. Just 30 seconds before, there had been a beautiful forest, and now it appeared that every tree in the forest was knocked down. There was twisted debris everywhere, pieces of buildings. The entire side of a huge semi-tractor trailer was down there on a tree right next to me, wrapped around that tree. That’s when my heart sank. I knew people are going to die in this.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: David made his way to a nearby parking lot, then was rushed to the hospital by men who found him there.
Young: They put seven or eight staples in my head to stop the bleeding; I would have bled to death. They wrapped my leg up; it was just beat up badly. It may have been a hairline fracture, but nothing serious.
Evans-Saracual: Do you ever question why you survived?
Young: Oh yes! There were a lot of people that were seriously injured. Two people lost their lives. I am not able yet to explain why God would spare me and not them. What I know is that God is good. God is powerful. I’ve been begging God to give me faith and give me calm in the storm. He let me go through a tornado, and as a result of that, my faith has been greatly increased. I’ve been a pretty calm person since then. I have concluded that there is no storm so dark that God will not be with you.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Easter Sunday, David walked out in front of his church and preached a sermon that was born in the eye of a tornado.
Evans-Saracual: What was your message?
Young: Message was that regardless of how bad the storm is, Christ is risen. Holding on to that tree in the middle of the storm is just a wonderful metaphor for life. Even if you don’t know what’s coming next, if you don’t know how bad it’s going to be, regardless of how much debris is slamming around you, you hang on to that tree, and God’s going to take care of it.
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