October 24, 2022
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Some years ago I saw that movie "Twister." It was hair-raising! Even for a guy with not much hair to raise. But I kept telling myself, "It's just a story. It's just special effects."
Well, some time ago, what happened to the Weather Channel's Mike Bettes while chasing the storm in El Reno, Oklahoma, it was not some computer-generated fantasy. No! The tornado they were chasing took an unexpected turn. It picked up their vehicle and threw it like 200 yards.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Thinking About When You're Gone."
The vehicle was flattened. Thankfully, Mike and his crew weren't; some scratches, a couple of broken bones - but amazingly alive. And now they were thinking about some things that are pretty easy to forget, which doesn't surprise me. I know the times that I've been hit hard and thrown around. They've been my wake-up calls: The medical crisis, the betrayal, the accident, the funeral. And in those terrifying moments inside a tornado - airborne - Mike Bettes said, "My life flashed before me; the faces of people."
When we're thinking clearly - like when we could lose it all - we know what our life really is. It's the people. Unfortunately, they often get crowded out while we're consumed with our projects, our possessions, our pleasure, chasing our goal; forgetting the people.
I was especially touched by one thing that storm-tossed storm chaser said about his near-death experience. He said, "I just saw my wife's face." Isn't that the face that we should always see in all our big choices? The people we love? Unobscured by all the other people that we need to help or want or want to impress. Like your husband or your wife, that's the only one you promised to love, charish, protect, listen to "till death do us part." So, he or she shouldn't have to wait in line while you take time for everybody else.
After his unnerving brush with death, Mike Bettes said he's rethinking his tornado strategy. He said they got too close to the danger. That's been tragically underscored by later news that three of those who died that day were storm chasers. When a storm is shaking our world, it's time to rethink if we're pushing the limits and wandering into some danger zone. Like that "innocent" flirtation at work that can blow up a family.
The growing debt that's got us precariously balanced on the edge of a financial cliff. Or that web of deceit that one day is going to entrap the deceiver.
"Tornado" moments are times to reassess, to ask questions you'd never otherwise ask about the relationships you're neglecting, about the risks you're taking, the priorities you're living by, the future you're facing. One storm-chasing survivor said, "It makes you think about your mortality." That's a good thing to think about. The things that will matter after you're gone should matter while you're here. So you live for things that will outlast you.
Our word for today from the Word of God is in James 4:14. It says, "your life...is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." Which tells me I should be looking past my short little journey here to what's beyond my last heartbeat - eternity, which we need to be ready for; which we're not. God's told us what's on the other side. The Bible says, "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). For everything we've ever done that was wrong in God's eyes. Which leaves me no hope of heaven, except one. If I know that somehow I won't face God's judgment. And, thank God, I know my sin has been erased by a sinless God because His Son, Jesus, took my judgment when He died on the cross. In the Bible's words, "We have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ" (Romans 5:9 - NLT).
My life here is a mist, but not my life after that. The Bible says, "There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1 - NLT). You know what? I do. There is no greater peace than knowing you are ready for eternity whenever it comes.
Don't you want to be sure about heaven? Don't you want to be ready for eternity and know you are? I invite you to join me, then, at ANewStory.com (our website). Find out how to be sure you belong to Jesus, and how to be sure of your eternal destination.