Red alert!!! My friends were quite concerned. They rushed to the grocery store to stock up on food and water.
These women have reacted like this before--the last time it was because the weather report said that it would snow. Granted, this time it was a little more serious. Homeland Security issued a high terrorist alert and called on people living here in the Washington DC area to be prepared. I was surprised by the reaction even among people who lived further away from the nation's capital. Why the panic? My gut reaction was the need to keep cool. After all, I had enough food in my house to last a few days.
News reports the next several days said that bottles of water were snapped off the shelves. People waited in long lines to buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect their homes if there should be a biological or chemical attack. Some talked about getting gas masks. The troubling thing was this was the reaction despite reports that such items would offer only limited protection.
I thought immediately about relying on God's protection. After all he was the first one to use biological attack and germ warfare--remember the gnats and frogs, plague and leprosy? My God will protect me, I told myself.
Then I thought of Proverbs 31:21. I should be the wife "who is not afraid for her household when it snows." Of course I have learned to trust the Lord but I need to do my part to be ready and "look well to the ways of my household" (Proverbs 31:27). Got to strike a balance somewhere.
When Maryland and Virginia had the sniper attacks several months ago, these same friends thought of filling up gas in pairs. That way one person could watch out while the other was pumping the gas. Many people here stayed indoors in fear. What a way to live.
Since September 11, we have become such a frightened people. Afraid for our safety, fearful for our children and spouses, afraid of being shot, of hunger, of death. We become suspicious of specific groups of people, we have spent millions of dollars and invested time to protect ourselves against terrorism and we have to contend with "the axis of evil"--those rogue nations that have capabilities to attack us.
Of course as individuals and as free nations, we need and must take action to protect ourselves. But when I saw the reaction to the threat of danger, it drove home this point to me.
People would take immediate action when their lives are threatened, but what about the real thing that they should fear. I am talking about the fear of the Lord. What about salvation? What about judgment day? What about not being prepared to know who our Savior is? Why are so many people blind to the need to deal with this fundamental truth?
What if on CNN this evening, they announce "Some strange sightings have been observed all over the earth of clouds descending...it looks like nothing ever seen...it looks like the arrival of a supernatural being...Judgment day has arrived?" What then?
Yes, there is an "axis of evil" in this world for we live "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation." Before we point fingers, what about the "axis of evil" in each and every one of our lives? What about the evil inclinations of our heart? The sin which has separated us from a loving God? What preparation have we made to protect ourselves from eternal damnation? As with duct tape, many of us try to fix it ourselves, whether it is in religion or in good works, regardless of whether it is effective or not.
How sad that we as a people will run to the store to stock up on water and food and at the same time be spiritually on red alert risk and not even realize it. There is no salvation in duct tape-self help theology; Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves. The protection is superficial...it is our soul that we must protect and consider. And there is only one way: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
As believers, what are we doing in Jesus' call in Matthew 28:19-20?
What happened here in the DC area after the terrorism alerts were at its height underscored for me the pressing need to deal with God first. We were hit by the biggest blizzard in several decades. Some parts of Virginia had up to 58 inches of snow and this blizzard was the snowiest in the area since the 1890s.
The city and surrounding counties were crippled. School had to be closed for one week. We were all snow bound for at least three or four days. Outside my house, there was something like 20 inches of snow. The first morning, my husband and I shoveled about eight inches, came back in exhausted and by mid morning, another eight inches of the beautiful white powdery snow was effortlessly piled up in our driveway. It was like that for days.
Glory to God! It reminded me that I am a mere mortal and God is god. I appreciated the work the transportation people did in plowing the snow aside, creating instant icebergs at the side of roads and in parking lots but in the end, I was both humbled and awed that we may be as physically prepared but God is the god of the universe and at his word, mountains can be moved, and mountains can be created. More than a week later, these ice mounds everywhere continue to remind me of God's omnipotence.
In that one blizzard, all thoughts of terrorists were put at the back of the mind. We had the wrath of nature to contend with. We worried about the dangers of the storm, the effect it had on everyone, young or old, rich or poor, saved and unsaved, and then as it warmed up, we feared flooding.
Ultimately we have to deal with God. In the beginning, God...he is the first and the last.
Keep his light shining.