Why didn’t they get out? They had time. Yet many stayed. They believed the worst would not happen. Houston was perhaps the hardest hit. It is a city on flat land and was a sure hit for incredible flooding given where landfall of Harvey was happening. But even this reality could not shake the city free of its apathy.
Photo: Austin American-Statesman
The lack of belief that I need to be prepared for the worst is an infectious problem we all struggle with, in the realm of balance. I think, to some degree, it is actually healthy and functions as an internal trade-off to afford ourselves the peace we need to avoid the slippery slope of pessimism and defeatism. Still, while I am no fan of fear mongering, maybe there is room here for a healthy wakeup call in all of this.
As bad as Harvey, and its aftermath, is going to be, the truth is that we know even worst things will come upon this earth before Jesus returns. One striking thought hit me as I read through the various news articles on Harvey is that, realistically, all the people who had to move out of the path of the storm could not have evacuated even if they had wanted to.
Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner said it best in a Press Conference, “You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road.” “If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”
If that is the case then what will happen when one day worse than Harvey hits? Imagine, if you will, a scenario of disasters Harvey- size running continually and simultaneously all over the nation at once. There literally would be no way to escape, nor any place to escape to. Yet that is exactly what the Bible predicts:
“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” (Matthew 24:20-21)
The unpopular truth is, there is a time of trouble that is coming upon this whole earth that will be many times over the problem of Harvey and will leave no place to evacuate to. There is a time coming, for which we cannot physically prepare. And the only rescue boat that can save you is Jesus!
Photo: AP HARVEY A USA TX
You can hoard wealth, but it will be useless in that day as commerce is swiped away. You can hone survival skills, but there will be no resources in that day. You can stockpile weapons, but the evil of that day will not be people. You can stick your head in the sand and pretend it will never happen, never come, and pretend it is all fear mongering and speculation. However, that will only make you be the greatest “Houston in the Harvey” the world has ever seen.
Only Jesus saves in that day! Only Jesus can reach you in that day. When 911 no longer works, and rescue boats no longer come, and when the whole world has lost hope, look up, look up to the light in the sky because it will be Jesus and His mighty army of angels returning to get you and bring you to safety.
The question is, how is your relationship with Jesus today? I know, “Tomorrow, tomorrow we will always have tomorrow…,” said Houston yesterday! The truth is there is no tomorrow unless there is today. Matthew chapter 25 makes it quite clear that if you have not prepared a relationship with the bridegroom (Jesus) today, then when He returns there will be no time do so.
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:10-13)
Jeep Cherokee Sports Edition 4 Wheel Drive model. This is very similar to their model.
I remember a few years back when I was living in the more southern part of the United States. One day I was in the church parking lot on my way into worship, and a saw two very elderly sisters drive up whom I knew well. Betsy and Dana who were well into their late 80’s drove up to church in a massive Jeep Cherokee Sports Edition 4 Wheel Drive with giant tires on it. I felt pretty sure Betsy and Dana were not the off-road driving type so I asked them why in the world would they buy a giant Jeep like that!
“Oh the time of trouble is coming, Vinnie, you better be getting ready!” Dana spoke up proudly. “And we plan to paint it camouflage too” busted in Betsy as an add-in. “Yep, yep,” Continued Betsy, “You better look seriously into getting your escape together now! You know the Bible says in those days there will be no buying and selling so if you plan to flee to the mountains when all hell breaks loose you better get it together now!”
Intrigued I looked right at both sisters and asked, “If you can’t buy or sell, where are you going to get the gas to put in this giant gas guzzler to get away?” And not even understanding the ironic hypocrisy of her answer Dana shot back, “Oh, the Lord will provide that!” And Betsy quickly backed her up and vocally supported, “Yep Yep, my Jesus, hmmm hmmm… my Jesus, yep yep, my Jesus, will provide!” And I walked away scratching my head wondering why Betsy’s Jesus could provide gas, but not a Jeep. I guess Betsy’s Jesus has limited supplies on demand!
That is the tension we live with as faithful Christians living in what are some of the earth’s final days. We don’t want to live in fear-laden hypocrisy of Dana and Betsy, nor the unready apathy that can lead to the havoc of Houston in a Harvey. And it seems pretty clear with every passing day that likeliness of man to solve his own problems are about as probable as evacuating 6.5 million people from every urban center all at once, as the world tumbles around you. The only viable solution there can be is to have a solid trust-filled, loving relationship with Jesus now, today, that builds you with the certainty of tomorrow. You must have the faith that Jesus will move Heaven and Earth to save you in that day! Jesus will be the only rescue boat safe to be on when this world starts to fall apart.
Photo: Houston Transtar
Yes, it is like the old song said, “The enemy came in like a flood…But he was defeated by one drop of blood.” We don’t have to live in fear of the Harveys of life to avoid the dangers around us. We can see the storm of today as seasonal warnings to have a daily and ever-deepening relationship with Jesus. The opposite of apathy is not fear; the opposite of apathy is faith. It is true that the havoc of Harvey in Huston is nothing compared to the trouble coming upon this earth. But it is also true that the spilled blood of Jesus proves that the Father will stop at nothing to save you in that day if you believe in him. The faith of today has the power to stop all the storms of tomorrow. But unless that faith is forged, now, it will be lost as in the havoc of Huston. Harvey has sent us yet another reminder to set our eyes on the sky in which Jesus will return. Set your faith now!