Monday, March 5, 2012

Tornado warnings

“…and he shall surely live because he took warning…” –Ezek. 3:21

Warnings. What are they? They are signals or signs meant to get our attention. We are warned to slow down before a dangerous curve; we are warned when there are only 2 minutes left in the half of a professional football game; we are warned about the side effects of taking some safe medications. Through the prophets, God repeatedly warned His chosen people about living without Him. Unfortunately there is one common denominator about warnings: they are seldom heeded.

As most of you know, we had some really bad storms pass through Branson a few days ago. The storm hit at 1:00am and one particular cell had an F-2 tornado embedded inside. It did significant damage to businesses, homes and churches right down the main strip of Branson. But no lives were lost in the Branson area, so though traumatic, it didn't involve loss of life.

I can’t tell you how many people have commented that, “I slept through the whole storm” or “I had no idea a storm had hit our town.” Someone even said, “Yeah, I sort of heard the sirens go off, but figured it was probably going to miss us.” They definitely didn't heed the warnings. The sirens blare, but people go back to sleep. The twenty dollar weather radios sit stacked at the hardware stores, prepared to do their job, but worthless as they sit in their boxes.

So, why don't people tend to heed warnings? Why are we content to risk our very lives? I have several theories:

We’re not convinced the warnings apply to us. Most of us secretly feel like we’re invincible. We’re willing to rely on our own capacity to control. And we’re quick to judge others’ lower capacity to stay safe. So, we let others heed the warnings, but we discard the warning as irrelevant to ourselves. Have you read the article about how to stop a tornado? I haven’t read it either because it doesn’t exist. We can predict it but we can't control it. We can only get out of the way.

We’ve been through too many false alarms. We’re convinced that the emergency personnel over react and “pull the trigger” too quickly. So, unless the warning is huge, we don't acknowledge the warning as a problem. After a major event, we’re careful, but as the weeks and months go by, we go back to sleep.

We think we can take cover if it really hits our house. Many people die in storms because they waited too late to seek shelter. Most tornado events only last seconds. There is simply no time once the storm hits. A warning isn't heeded unless it causes action before the predicted event. If we expect to wake up as we hear the storm and have time to take cover, then we really are dreaming.

So, next time there is a storm, please listen for the sirens and heed the warning. Please go buy a weather radio today if you don't have one. You’re risking the very lives of your loved one’s if you don’t.

More importantly, heed the warnings of God in your life. It’s one of the loving roles of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Jesus follower. He nudges our spirit to deal with or resolve a situation that can cause destruction in our lives. God’s siren blares and too often we keep sleeping. His desire is that we’d wake up and take the action necessary to resolve the issue.

Then, we really can be safe from the storms.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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