A most unusual day

tornado damage

To support a ministry life I work as a welder at Vermeer Corporation.  On Thursday July 19, 2018 Vermeer property was hit by an EF3 tornado. Vermeer employs about 2700 people at this location. Several hundred of us employees along with a large number of visiting customers were on site when it occurred. Three of the seven manufacturing buildings were damaged. Two of them are not repairable. Dozens of vehicles were damaged as well. With all the devastation there were only a small number of injuries, all of them minor. Praise God for that.

At the time of this writing there are hundreds of us employees that do not know when we will return to work. Prayers are appreciated.

As I was pondering this most unusual day Jonah came to mind. I’d like to think my stubbornness is not as bad as Jonah’s was but that’s debatable. Jonah was sent to a city he did not want to go to. He tried to go an opposite direction but wound getting a ride in a fish to the place he was supposed to be. Despite Jonah’s reluctance to preach it, God’s word brought about repentance to a sinful city. The last we read about Jonah was a most unusual day even for him.

Look for yourself at Jonah 4:5-11

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

The parallel is that I’m not where I want to be. If you have followed this blog for any amount of time it’s obvious that employment as a welder working second shift is not a part of my plans. However, the job has brought a great amount of financial relief. Then one day, like the worm eating the vine, nature took away that covering.


Among the blessings of that day is my car was not damaged, my home was not damaged, I was in a building hit by a tornado and didn’t even get a scratch. If my car and home had been destroyed and I was hurt would I complain. Most likely I would have been whining to God. After all he gave me these blessings and my heart has been less than grateful for them.

Do I have the right to complain? The answer is no. God knows our needs and He provides for them. Not every person employed at Vermeer is a follower of Christ but God protected all of us from serious harm just the same.


Rev. Burt Schwab


About burtschwab

I currently live in Iowa, USA. My goals are to simply live life as a journey and embrace each day. I am married to a wife with similar passions and that makes me a blessed man.
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