I'd like to share a few thoughts today, from a Biblical perspective, regarding this situation. There are at least three strong parallels between tornadoes and sin that are worth considering.
1. Tornadoes can inflict a tremendous amount of damage in a short amount of time--and so can sin.
$60,000 is what it cost to repair the church building where I preach and worship after the twister went through. This large amount of damage was caused in an instant. Sin works the same way. In Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, a tremendous amount of damage was done in a short amount of time. Their initial disobedience brought death into the world (Rom. 5:12), a consequence we still reap today. And what about David and Bathsheba? The few moments of adulterous pleasure they enjoyed cost them both dearly (II Sam. 12). Tornadoes and sin can destroy much good in a moment, physically and spiritually, respectively.
2. Tornadoes can cause damage that is irreparable--and so can sin.
As I mentioned earlier, there were no serious injuries or fatalities as a result of the tornado. Other communities have not been so fortunate when a twister touches down. Physical death is a damage that cannot be "repaired" by man. Most of the destruction caused by the tornado was cleaned up and repaired within six months. However, some of the things destroyed will take years to replace (like trees, for instance). When it comes to sin, some things can be corrected, but others cannot. What do you mean, Stephen? Simply this: the damages of sin are irreparable once a person dies. After death, it is too late for repentance (cf. Luke 16:19ff). Hebrews 9:27 says - "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." We must make things right with the Lord in this lifetime if we expect to be with Him in the next. Of course, even after "repairs" are made spiritually, things will never be the same. Sin, even after it has been forgiven, always leaves behind certain consequences that cannot be escaped (e.g., shattered relationships, imprisonment, lingering regrets, etc.). When tornadoes and sin touch down in the lives of people, some things will never be the same again--even after money is spent on repairs and forgiveness is sought according to the Lord's terms.
3. Tornadoes are often unpredictable--and so is sin.
The tornado that ripped through our community behaved unusually. It damaged certain things you wouldn't expect to suffer damage, and it left untouched other items that would seem to be more prone to suffering damage. For example, in our backyard, there is a birdfeeder that has been leaning for years. It looks like it might fall over any day. However, the tornado didn't bother it a bit (evidently it is more secure than it looks). However, less than twenty feet away sat our air conditioning unit and gas grill. The tornado moved the air conditioning unit several inches and it carried the gas grill over fifty feet (around the side of our house, over a fence and into our neighbor's front yard). Like tornadoes, the consequences of sin are often unpredictable. Who really knows the consequences one lie or slanderous remark may have in the long run? Of course, let me hasten to state that the ultimate consequence of sin is predictable. Romans 6:23 says - "For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It is my hope that you will never have to experience a tornado firsthand. I could hope that you would never have to experience sin firsthand, but I know that such a hope is vain (Rom. 3:23). My primary desire for all our listeners is the same: that you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, turn from your sins, be immersed into Christ for the remission of your sins, and that you serve the Lord faithfully until death (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rev. 2:10).