Monday, October 10, 2011
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Man, this last spring was an awful spring for tornadoes, record-setting in many cases. I mean, again and again, our news coverage was filled with those all-too-familiar images of a city or a neighborhood leveled and the death toll rising. One of them hit pretty close to home in Joplin, Missouri.
The image that they keep showing over and over came from a cell phone video that was shot in a convenience store there, literally as the tornado was tearing that store apart. Now, miraculously, everyone survived. But they sure didn't think they would.
Now, as you look at this video, most of it is pitch blackness. You just see an occasional flash of something flying by. But it's the audio that's haunting. Because as the tornado rips that place apart, you hear the screams, you hear the outcries, the terror, and a lady's voice repeatedly saying, "Jesus." And then another voice going, "I love you."
That's the part that stuck out to me. Somewhere in the middle of that mayhem, in the middle of that brush with death, here's a man's voice calling out, "I love you." That got to me.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Twister Love."
It's a reminder that today is the only day that we're sure we have to say those words. Our word for today from the Word of God is in Proverbs 27:1, and it warns us, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." Boy, is that the truth! How many times have we found that we thought we knew what was going to happen in a day, and something life-changing, game-changing hit us? You just can't count on tomorrow. There's that call from the scene of an accident, an embolism, a knock at the door, a sudden storm. Now, this isn't morbid, it's motivating to remember that every person we love is just one heartbeat away from eternity. That's not to live in fear, it's so we can live without regrets.
The Bible says, "Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). Smart people make every day count. If you appreciate someone, say it now. If you love someone, tell them now. If things are broken, fix them now. If there have been harsh words, apologize now. If there's anger in your heart, get rid of it now.
Write that letter. Make that call. Go see that person. Give that gift. Say that thank you. Grab that time together. Show them you love them now.
In those desperate, tornado-surrounded voices, there was a reminder, too, that we need to call out to Jesus while there's still time, because God has promised that "whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). And that means saved from the penalty; the eternal penalty for hijacking our lives from Him. Jesus was doing something incredible in that most awesome act of love in all of human history when He bled and died, and allowed Himself—offered Himself—to be butchered on a cross; to be the One to be separated from God so you and I don't have to be. So we can be ready to live, and ready to die, and guaranteed of an eternity in heaven. And the Bible says this about the rescue that Jesus makes possible, "Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
This is all we know we've got. And if you've known about Jesus; if you've heard about Jesus but you've never given yourself to Jesus, you're not sure there's been a time when you've said, "Jesus, I'm grabbing you like you're my only hope" like a drowning person would grab a rescuer, do it now. You don't know if you'll have another chance. "Seek the Lord while He may be found" (Isaiah 55:6). Let this be the day you know you are ready for eternity.
I hope you'll go to our website, because there's information there that I've put there. You can watch it, you can read it, you can listen to it; any form you want, and hear there exactly how to begin your personal relationship with Christ.
I remember what one man said after a deadly tornado in Oklahoma, "It made us remember that we all have an expiration date, and we don't know when it is." Uh-huh. And now is all we know for sure.