He did not spare himself – the legacy of Tom Lee

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of stories that will come out from the devastating tornadoes that ravaged Alabama on Wednesday, April 27th, but there is one in particular that has arrested my attention.

Tom Lee was a man who loved being a husband and father to his 13 children.  When the threat of the tornadoes became imminent, he gathered his family together for prayer. Within minutes, he led his family to the den of their house and prepared for impact.  As the house began falling apart and debris filling the air, Mr. Lee made the decision to throw himself over his children laying on the floor to protect them from bricks, plywood, and other life-treatening objects being hurled into the air.

Directly underneath Tom was his eldest son Jordan who looked up at his father.  As he looked at his dad, he noticed blood coming out of his mouth and the breaths beginning to leave his father–the last ones spent in prayer for his family’s protection.  In that moment, as he lay on top of his children, Tom Lee gave his life for his family.

I cannot imagine being underneath my dad, looking up to see his arms and legs spread over me like a protective shield from the wrath of a tornado and to slowly see his life taken away in order that mine might be preserved. Attempting to imagine that with my two children seems too much to bear, though I pray and hope that I would have the courage and commitment to give my life away with no thought to reservations or regrets.

What was on display through the heroism of Tom Lee for his family is a picture of what God has done for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.  God knew that the full vent of His wrath against sin would come with greater force than the biggest tornado.  The weight of justice and demand for holiness would blow away every prop and structure intended to withstand God’s wrath.  Left to ourselves, we are in the direct path of the tornado of God’s judgment against our rebellion against Him.

The good news is that God did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for all who believe.  God knew that if there would be any who would be rescued, it would be because Jesus threw Himself on the cross as a covering for all who would find sanctuary from the wrath of God.  In our place, Jesus took the wrath.  He had the cinder blocks of justice beat down on him.  He embraced in our place the death sentence and absorbed in his body the curse that was ours.  And those hidden in Christ look up and find a compassionate, sacrificial Savior, whose blood was poured out for us, and whose last breaths were filled with prayers for us.

Though the heaviness of God’s law takes us down until we are helpless on the floor, the greatness of God’s love covers us helpless ones as we are embraced, not with wrath, but with mercy.  This afternoon, I have a fresh reminder of the high cost and payment for sin and to make me a child of God.  And to know that the grip of my dying Savior will never let me go, no matter what future storms I face, brings me incredible comfort and peace.  I hope it does for you too.

Below is Jordan’s testimony of what happened that night.  Here is a family with incredible physical, financial, and relational needs, but what they request prayer for is that God would be glorified through their loss and pain.  What a family, what an example.  May God hear and answer their prayers with exceeding abundance, according to His riches in glory.

Sources: Here | Here

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One Comment on “He did not spare himself – the legacy of Tom Lee”

  1. Randy Mann Says:

    Tom and his family were personal friends, and fellow church members, of ours when we lived in AL. This story is yet another example of his commitment as a godly man, husband, father, soul-winner – Christian. My mom said the memorial service yesterday at our home church was attended by probably 900-1000 people. She said it appropriately honored the life of the man, but in a much greater way brought glory to the Lord He loved and served. Thank you for your prayers for the family and for making other brothers and sisters in Christ aware of ways they can pray and minister.

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