Hurricane Matthew will not soon be forgotten. In many ways it will prove to be worse than Hurricane Floyd. As of this writing (Monday Morning) from Florida to North Carolina 20 people have died and as many as 1,500 people were stranded in Lumberton, NC. Over a thousand have been rescued from swift or rising waters in Fayetteville and other cities. Rescue operations are still in progress and thousands are without power. Flood waters are pouring East filling rivers, and bringing potential flood waters to levels that will exceed those of Hurricane Floyd by the end of this week.

There are several thoughts that have occupied my mind since the on-set of this storm. First, I never cease to be amazed at how some people ignore or disregard the warnings of State and National authorities. Inevitably, in times of storms or danger, there are those who refuse to vacate their property even when told that they will be on their own and no one will come after them. One man refusing to evacuate said that he had to protect his house. Please tell me how you can protect your house in a category 3 or 4 hurricane? Is property more valuable than your life? If so, your values are all messed up.

Second, why would anyone attempt to drive through water not knowing if the road has been washed out? And why would anyone go around cones or warning signs where water is crossing the road? It is a fact that most people who die in a storm lose their life in a flood zone.

Third, why would anyone expect someone else to risk their life to save them from their foolishness? What is it about some individuals who see themselves as the exception to the rule, invincible, indestructible, or untouchable?

I am reminded of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Five of them were wise and five were foolish. Five were prepared to meet the bridegroom and five were not. When the call (warning) came that the Bridegroom was coming, the wise virgins were prepared with oil in their lamps and extra oil in jars. The foolish virgins took their lamps but had no extra oil. When their oil ran out they wanted the wise virgins to share their oil but they refused. So while the foolish virgins went to buy oil when it was already too late, the bridegroom came. The wise virgins were taken into the banquet with the bridegroom and the foolish virgins who arrived late were shut out.

The similarity between a coming storm, the coming bridegroom, our coming death or the coming of our Lord (second coming) is obvious. We are told by good authority that it is going to happen. We are told to be prepared. In each case, we have a choice to make: to ignore the warning and be unprepared or to be prepared when the time comes. To ignore the warnings is absolutely foolish. To heed them and be ready is wise. The difference between being prepared and being unprepared is the difference between being saved or being lost (shut out). The writer of Hebrews has the appropriate question, “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)

In His love, Charles

Thought of the Week for: October 11