Several months ago, Jason let me borrow “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson. Yes, it’s at my house, Jason. I love to read, but I almost never read for fun. I use every spare minute to read for work and ministry. Totally exhausted, I picked it up and decided to start reading it last week. It’s a book about the deadliest hurricane in history. After a few days of watching the steady march (Actually, I think it sorta strolled up the Gulf.) of Tropical Storm Isaac, I decided this wasn’t the best time to be reading “Isaac’s Storm”. While Isaac didn’t come near where we live, it headed toward my home town of Mobile, AL. I have family there, so I turned to the weather channel for any warning and regular updates.
Now if you’ve done it you know, but if you haven’t the news clips just don’t paint the picture for you. Boarding up your windows is a lot of work. One year we boarded up our windows 5 times. Wayne finally decided to leave them up to be sure no more hurricanes were on the horizon. I couldn’t stand it, one day I took my bad self outside and removed the board off my office window. The darkness just got to me!
It takes time, money and hard work to prepare for a hurricane. If you’ve never been through one, its an interesting experience. You buy things you would never buy otherwise. Vienna Sausage. Spam. I’m feeling nauseous. Bread, even the white bread finds its way into your cart, because that’s all that’s left. And in the kitchen there’s a whole lot of cooking going on, because if the electricity goes off you gotta have something to eat. Cakes. Banana Bread. Corn Bread. And you always clean the tub really, really good and fill the tub with water. I’m not really sure why, but that’s what you do. Candles are brought out. Fresh batteries in flashlights. Battery operated radios. We even have a hand cranked radio, like I’m really going have the patience to sit there and crank it…NOT!
Now remember, the sky is clear. No wind. No rain. Just a little guy, with a map behind him blurting out, “Hurricane Warning.” A watch and warning are two entirely different things.
According to the National Weather Association:
- A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur.
- A warning requires immediate action.
Along, the Gulf Coast today, there are a lot of people removing the boards off their windows, draining their bathtub and finishing off the last of the pot of soup made to last a week. It’s not fun and some of them are wondering why they even bothered, because they didn’t experience the catastrophic storm they expected.
But we do bother. We do board up. And while we understand the weather experts don’t have a crystal ball , still they understand the warning signs and signals enough to predict potential danger. And I choose to pay attention.
Still there is an inherent danger in warnings that fizzle, that concerns me. It is still early in the hurricane season. There is a danger that the next hurricane warning will fall on doubting ears, that people will ignore the warnings and fail to prepare for the storm. That is a very scary and potentially catastrophic decision.
Maybe the sky is clear at your house. Maybe there’s not a drop of rain anywhere. But I gotta tell you, there’s a storm coming! They come to us all. Sorry, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I just want you to be prepared.
And the warnings written in Scripture come not from a human that is observing the wind and the signs, but from a loving God that sees the future. These alarming warnings are not sent to frighten us or shame us, but they come to alert us, because God knows the consequences of evil. He warns us because He loves us. Warns! That requires immediate action. Line up your life with God’s Word. Your actions. Your attitudes. Your prayer life.
The danger comes as well because the penalty of sin and rebellion against God is not immediate. We see the grace of God that gives us opportunity to repent and think God is over-looking our sin. (2 Peter 3:9 NLT) So we ignore the warning voice of conviction and settle comfortably into a place riddled with dangers. We move out of a safe place in the center of His will into the whirling winds of Hell’s hurricane and we don’t even realize it. But the Bible is full of warnings. Warnings that makes us uncomfortable. Warnings that propel us to repent, to change, to obey God; none of which are easy or fun.
Like the voice of the robot in the hit 1960 show, “Lost in Space” annoyingly repeating Warning! Warning! I’m warning you to take action. I’m warning my brothers and sisters in Christ to rise to the occasion. Be strong! Be diligent. Pray. Believe. Obey. It’s not too late if we pray.
Proverbs 14:16 The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with great confidence.
Matthew 5:20 “But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!
Hebrews 3:13 You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.
1 Peter 2:11 Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls.