God in the Whirlwind
By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club
"I am so afraid of tornadoes to begin with. I grew
up being afraid of them. My dad was afraid of them. Its always
been a huge fear of mine," says Kim Bernhardt.
Kim is a loving single mom with a playful 4-year-old son, Evan.
One day, while running errands around town, Kim says the skies
grew strangely dark. Kim and Evan came face to face with a level
"At first I accelerated really hard when it first hit us, thinking,
Im going to drive out of this. I can get out of this.
And I couldnt. I was just stuck."
Kim desperately tried to get to her church, but the twister was
already upon her and it would not let her turn into the church
"We should have been killed upon impact," she says. "It just
picked us up and carried us. Then we started being raised up more,
being swept more, turning. Then I see its going up more and more
to where were up toward the top of the houses, where Im looking
down to the side and seeing houses just literally being sucked
apart. I saw the shingles flying off. I saw the roofs just totally
being taken off."
Kim had no idea how dangerously high in the air they were.
Candace Shelton was an eyewitness that fateful afternoon. She
says that Kims van was about 50 feet in the airover power lines.
She saw a white van "flying" in the air from her second-floor
"Things were blowing around everywhere, and then theres a telephone
pole over here, and I saw a white van that was up in the air above
the telephone pole. It was just as if you take like a little toy
car and you set it in your hand and you hold it up in the air.
It was just like someone had it held in the palm of their hand,"
In the midst of her unbelievable ordeal, Kims thoughts were
focused solely on the safety of her son.
darkest moment was when I looked back at Evan and had that thought
of what if I live and Evan is killed?" Kim recalls. "I imagined
his head being mutilated by debris. I remember loosening my seatbelt,
and the next thing I knew, I was embracing him, telling him, 'God
is with us.'"
Then Kim began praying a familiar prayer while she was shielding
her son on the floor of their van.
"When I went above that house and was praying the Lords Prayer,
right when I was at the part 'Thy will be done on earth as it
is in heaven,' this other overwhelming thought came to my mind:
'Oh, no! I dont think I put the van in park!' I reached up and
put the van in park," Kim explains. "I got right back down over
Evan. The van is still going sideways and moving around, and Im
like, Why did I do that? I couldnt understand why I thought
putting the van in park was going to help in a tornado."
Suddenly, their incredible flight in the twister ended. The van
landed gently on the ground. Kim was stunned.
"Its like we were in a cradle," she says. "We were let down.
I felt one gentle motion, and then I felt another very gentle
motion. And we were gentlyI mean, gentlyset down."
While praying the Lords Prayer, Kim felt God spoke to her heart
to put the van in park. She now says that simple act possibly
saved their lives.
think we would have gone into a house. Where we landed was facing
toward a house, and not that far," she says. "We landed in the
front yard, facing a house , but we were in park. I looked out.
I see all these homes torn apart. I see that were in a front
yard headed toward a house, and were sitting there. I see all
the trees down everywhere. It was very frightening."
Kim believes that Gods presence was very real in the midst of
that terrifying twister.
"That prayer has a different meaning to me now, ' on earth as
it is in heaven. Thy will be done.' I was right there between
earth, being torn apart, and being close to heaven, because I
really believe God was there with us. I really did not believe,
at that point, I would live; yet there was a peace. I knew I was
in the hand of God."
A level three tornadoThis is considered a severe tornado. There
are five levels of severitycan carry winds in excess of 200 miles
per hour. Kim is still amazed that she and Evan left their van
without a scratch.
"To know that we were 50 feet in the air and that we werent
just dropped and killed and crashed. We should have crashed into
a house," she says. "I got onto the Internet. I found a car back
in the '40s that had landed in a mans living room and was killed.
We were just feet from landing in a living room."
says she learned some strong spiritual lessons in the midst of
this powerful storm.
"He loves us so much. I never felt it more than I felt it in
that tornado, and in that verse where I said, 'God is in the whirlwind,'"
says Kim."He was in the whirlwind. He was with us. I feel like
He proved His love to me. I know He did it a long time ago on
the Cross, but He showed me that day how much He loved me."
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