Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heeding the Warning

It has been fascinating to watch the aftermath of Hurricane Ike’s direct hit on the Galveston/Houston area. I am especially curious about the people who ignored the evacuation orders for the island of Galveston. As they are rescued off rooftops or come inland after wading through chest-high waters, they all have a harrowing story to tell. Mostly what they seem to say is “I didn’t think it would be that bad.”

Those of us who do not live near to a hurricane evacuation zone do not understand the mentality of staying put when a destructive storm such as Ike sets its sights on a city. We understand that weather forecasting has its problems-- just look at all of the hoopla that went on over Gustav, a storm that fizzled and disappointed all expectations. Several years ago, Houston was told to evacuate as Hurricane Rita bore down on the city. More people died in the resulting traffic gridlock than in the actual storm. In addition, it is expensive to evacuate. Where will you stay? How will your needs for food be met? With an enormous exodus of a major city, it might seem prudent to stay put.

The National Weather Service issued a warning that “certain death may be possible.” While this phrase was somewhat amusing to me-- certain death MAY be possible-- an oxymoron at its finest-- the message is clear. Get out of there. You may not live to tell the tale.

I wonder what Steve and I would have done, but not for too long. I am pretty sure we would pack up the car and head west. Why? Because if the possibility exists that the storm will be enough to take our very lives, any inconvenience seems a small price to pay to avoid “certain death.” If the possibility exists, we should take action.

Peter tells us that a judgment is coming upon the earth. “Mockers will come … saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” … But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up… Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:3, 4, 7, 10, 14)

The warning has been given. Yet many, like the ones who refused to leave Galveston, hedge their bets. Maybe the Day of the Lord will not happen during their lifetime. Maybe they have 80 some years on this earth-- so there is time to get serious about God later.

Yet the possibility exists that it could be today. Or tomorrow. And if the possibility exists, maybe we should take action.

I once dated a boy who loved to have a good time. When his grandmother died, for a brief time he looked death in the face. Seeing a window of opportunity, I spent hours with him explaining the salvation God offers to all through the death and resurrection of His Son. In the end, he just wasn’t interested. “I’ve got too much life to live. There’s time later to get serious about God,” he told me. I am heartbroken to report he died at 28 of AIDS-related problems. So much for thinking time was on his side.

If there’s even a possibility that we will face judgment, shouldn’t we act?

1 comment:

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