It’s cool outside with a somewhat eerie whistling wind. Gas stations have their prices zeroed out signifying no more fuel. Store shelves are emptier than the church parking lot at midnight. It’s pandemonium during the day, then a silence descends at night.
Everything echoes: “The storm is coming.”
* * *
The United States is in chaos from natural disasters.
The Pacific northwest is literally going up in flames.
Houston is buried underwater from Harvey.
Idaho is being jarred by earthquake after earthquake.
Irma is tearing up the Caribbean and barreling towards Florida as I write this.
Such devastation, and such a paradox that the water the West desperately needs is the very commodity drowning the East.
Over and over, the cry has been repeated in my state this week: Are you ready? GET READY! Be overprepared rather than underprepared!
* * *
You never expect it to be you living in a disaster zone. But when things like the events of the past weeks pile up…and there is a storm reported to be the strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history…eventually you start thinking about what could very soon become your reality.
Even if only for a moment, some part of you wonders if this time next week, your life will be completely different. If maybe soon is the last time you’ll see someone. If perhaps next Wednesday it will be your church that is flooded, like the ones in Houston that members from your church just went to help. You wonder if the palm trees lining the roadway will soon be blocking it, or if the beautiful big trees on your college campus will be torn apart and leafless when you return.
And when your Bible reading plan brings you to the ending chapters of Matthew, specifically chapter 24, describing the last days…you wonder if Jesus’ return is much closer than you would’ve imagined even a month ago.
As I’ve been writing about here, God has really been driving home the reality of eternity for me this year. And here was my thought as I read His Word and contemplated the chaos across my nation: Am I ready for eternity? Am I ready for the day that will be so unexpected–the day when Christ will come like a thief in the night?
Something one of my classmates in my public speaking class said today hit me. In the opening of his speech, he asked, “How many of you are kinda scared about the upcoming hurricane?” Many of us raised our hands. The next question he asked was like flipping a switch. “But are you really scared of the hurricane, or is it more that you’re scared of the uncertainty of it?” Every single person in that room agreed that it was the uncertainty that was most frightening. Because quite frankly, despite all the talented folks at NOAA, and despite all the technology we have to predict where this storm is going and what it’ll do, we don’t really know for sure. We can’t know for sure.
How do you prepare for something when you don’t know the details of how or when it’s going to happen?
You follow the instructions given. You follow the wisdom of those who have gone before you. And you prepare for all possible scenarios, rather than trying to bet on one “most likely case.”
In short, you don’t try to figure it out. You go off of the information you are given. The good news is, God has given us all we need to prepare. It’s up to us to apply His Word and do the preparing. But more than just preparing one time, we need to be prepared at all times. Hurricane kits in Florida need updating and refilling at least once a year. Our lives need spiritual checkups, too.
And so as I am asking myself today, I also ask you: Are you ready? Not just for what life here on earth is about to be like, but for eternity. Because we do not know the day that we will suddenly be thrust into eternity.
If you’re not ready, won’t you make time to change that? To ask God to help you see what needs to change in your life, and for the power to help you change it?