Testimony of God’s Goodness
On December 10, 2021, a violent tornado tracked over 200 miles — spanning northwestern Tennessee through western Kentucky causing a path of destruction. Many people were killed or injured. Homes, businesses, and towns were destroyed.
This is the incredible testimony of the Browning family — Trey, Jessica, and their son Tucker — who lost everything, but survived the storm. We were connected to them through a relative of Bob Deering — Tracy Moore-Crum, and we had the privilege to bless them through the financial gifts that many of you gave! Jessica’s sister, Candace, wrote and said, “You have shown God’s love to complete strangers and it means more to their (our) family than you will ever know!”
Here is the story in Jessica’s words:
As I sit here and try to collect my thoughts and what has transpired in my life in less than a month, I am reminded of this song by We Are Messengers titled, “Come What May.” After being asked to give my testimony by many, I chose to sit down and write for myself an account of the night that has forever changed our future. Bear with me as I give this writing for the first time as it will be very emotional for me. December 10, 2021 started like any other day. My husband, Trey, and son, Tucker, all got up and got ready for another day. Trey was getting ready for work and Tucker and I headed to school. It was an easy day for my students. We were finishing up a unit on chemical reactions and we were listening to Christmas music. I sang Christmas songs for my students and we discussed our Christmas plans. We all knew the threat of storms for the night, but I never dreamed it would get that bad. The day ended and we all went home to “batten down the hatches” Trey called it. This was basically that we would pick up / clean up stuff outside the house anytime there was a possibility of bad weather. We went inside at dark, took showers, and made supper. I remember turning on the local news and watching for hours. When 9 o’clock rolled around, we decided to put Tucker to bed. There were storms that had been around, but nothing too close yet.
When the tornado touched down in Samburg, things in Dresden started to clear up and we thought we were in the clear. Around 10:30 that night though, I began to get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that something just wasn’t right — you know that feeling they call a mom’s intuition. I intently watched the news and things became clearer and clearer that we might be the next target of a tornado. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected what happened next.
Around 11:15 PM, my husband got a call from his sister in the neighboring town. She has always been scared of storms, and that night was no different. As she screamed in terror of the storm, lightning flashed, and all I could see was a large black cloud that filled the sky from the ground up. At that moment, I told Trey that I was going to go get Tucker. I raced to his bedroom and scooped him into my arms, covering him with his comforter. I raced back down the hall to the closet under stairs where Trey was waiting with the door open. I went inside and threw myself to the floor, holding Tucker with the tightest grip I had. Trey threw himself on top of us after closing the door. At that moment we were lifted up. For what seemed like forever, we were weightless until we slammed to the ground and began to slide. During this time, my prayer to God was to be merciful and not let us suffer. After many moments, we stopped sliding and just lay there, stunned. For me, it was an out-of-body experience where I felt everything, but it didn’t seem real. I awakened from my shock to my husband screaming my name asking if I was okay. I said yes, and then he yelled, “Tucker! Tucker!” At that moment I felt my son move, but he didn’t say anything. I responded to my husband who then pulled at the comforter to free our son. When we got him uncovered, and he woke, he started to cry — not knowing where he was, or how he got there. As I tried to console my son, Trey tried to open the closet door which was still closed. When he did, he realized that we were no longer where we started, and our house was gone.As the shock began to wear off, I realized that we were still alive! My thought was, “How can that be? Surely we should’ve died through that.” We realized that there was no easy way to get out and we didn’t know if the storm was fully over yet. That night, all the outgoing and incoming calls were blocked… all but one. The one call that went through was to Trey’s best friend, Clay, who told us that he was coming out to get us whatever it took. He’s the first person that got my in-laws out of their blocked driveway and gathered a group of men to come and get us out.
The events that led to being rescued are different to all three of us, but one thing remains the same. God did have mercy on us – he spared our lives. I will never know his reason for sparing in our lives, but he had grace on me and my family. Lots of people ask me how badly I want to forget that day. My answer is simply this: I would love to forget the heartache, the terror, the sights, and everything following that night, but I don’t want to forget the miracle that took place in a tiny closet under the stairs of our house. In that tiny closet, the Lord held me, my husband, and our son as we were thrown about. He protected us from every aspect of the storm that night, just as he does for every person that believes on him as their Savior. He literally held a storm from the closet where we were just as he held the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk across dry land. He was with us in the closet just as he was with Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. People have asked me how I feel about what happened. My answer is simply, blessed. God didn’t have to perform a miracle for us, but he did. He chose to shield us from the wrath of the violent storm because he has a plan. What his plan is, I do not know, but what I do know is that whatever he asked me to do, I am with him. My testimony through all of this is that God has power over all things. I can do nothing without Him and I am nothing without Him. My faith and trust are in Him alone. I hope that through this story, others will come to know Him. – Jessica Browning