Saturday, March 19, 2011

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Nuclear Disasters

 Last week, many people in Japan went to bed just like any other night.  I am sure many had plans for the next day or the days to come.  Some were planning birthday parties, some were planning weddings, some were planning to play or watch sports, some may have been thinking of asking that special someone out on a very first date.  They were having normal life with normal plans and suddenly, without warning, there lives tragically ended.  Even for the survivors, their entire cities were gone.  Over ten thousand killed without warning and many tens of thousands more left to pick up the pieces.  This is just like a little over a year ago in Haiti, when without warning many thousands were killed and cities were destroyed.  This is just like several years ago when hundreds of thousands were killed without warning on a beautiful day on a beach in Thailand.  And this is like one warm sunny picture-perfect Tuesday morning in New York City about 10 years ago when normal people doing normal office things watched and planes flew into their windows.  Many lives were taken without warning in all those cases and for the rest of us, our lives were changed forever. 

This is why it is so important for us to put the Gospel before anything else in our lives.  We do not know the number of our own days, let alone the days of another and the time we waste in not living and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ may mean the difference between Heaven and Hell for all those countless people who perish in those tragedies.  Sure major tragedies like that happen only rarely, but smaller tragedies happen all the time.  Just last weekend, forty people sleeping quietly on a tour bus had their lives tragically cut short when that bus flipped in its side.  Maybe this message is a downer, but it is reality and a reality we must face as Christians.  We have the responsibility to share with the world the good news of the Gospel.  We do not know how many tomorrows we will have to keep putting off sharing the Gospel with that person God has put on our heart.  Please, do not miss that chance. 

This tragedy also has another lesson.  We must learn to cherish the time that we have with the ones that we love.  In this day and age, families spend too little time together.  Children are overbooked with an endless list of activities and parents are negligent of their families for the sake of their careers or recreation.  I know too many husbands and wives who never spend enough time with their spouses or children.  God has called parents to raise their children and husbands to lead their wives and that is hard to do when you never spend time with them.  This tragedy should teach us that we never know how much time God has given us with our loved ones.  Keep that in mind every second you waste away from the ones you love.  We can not promise a future when only God knows how much of a future there is and the reality is that unless the Lord tarries, we will all face the loss of a loved one.  In that sad day, I can guarantee that you will never wish that you spent more time at work or more time playing sports. I can guarantee those things you thought were more important that spending time with your wife or children because you assumed you would "always" have more time with them will seem meaningless and pointless.  I can also guarantee that you will not wish you spent LESS time with that lost loved one.  No, you will wish with everything you have to have just one more day, then one more hour, the one more minute, the one more moment with that one whom you loved.  Only no matter how much you plead or how low you set your request, they will never be answered.   Please cherish that time now, when the Lord is giving it to you.  See each day together as a gift from the Lord and not a burden to carry.  Cherish and appreciate each and every moment you can because only God knows how many moments there are. 

And that is my final point.  Do not waste your time.  Time is the most valuable thing you will ever have because you can never get any more of it and you do not know how much you have left.  Cherish the time you have, redeem the time you have, love your family and loved ones with the time you have, and serve God with the time you have.  Each second you waste is one second less you will have. 

Finally, I know these tragedies are hard to hear about.  Seeing the destruction on our televisions and hearing of unthinkable numbers of those killed shakes us to our core. Please take heart.  These things must happen.  Just like the pains of birth pangs leads to beauty of the miracle of life as one of God's creations leaves the womb, these pains are the birth pangs of the return of our Lord.  Please, Lord, come soon
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:6-8 NKJV

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