My family and I lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005. The storm itself didn’t do all that much damage, but as we all know, the aftermath was catastrophic. When the levees surrounding the city were breached, 80% of the city flooded, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused more than $100 billion in damage (History.com). The Superdome became a “shelter of last resort” for those who could not vacate the city; approximately “112,000 of New Orleans’ nearly 500,000 people did not have access to a car. By nightfall, almost 80% of the city’s population had evacuated. Some 10,000 had sought shelter in the Superdome, while tens of thousands of others chose to wait out the storm at home (History.com, para. 4).”
And many, many people died. According to History.com, the total death count reached nearly 2,000.
Bill, our 2 year-old son and I could have very easily been statistics ourselves — our home did not flood, but there was rampant looting and crime; it was a very desperate and scary period. Despite the evacuation orders and the warnings from experts, we had decided to stay put. In fact, it was only at the very last moment – as in the day before Katrina hit – that we packed up and left, and only then because we were forced to leave by Bill’s Navy command group.
Bill and I, like so many others, thought we’d be fine. We figured the storm couldn’t really be that bad and wouldn’t really cause that much damage.
We were wrong, but thank goodness we didn’t stay to witness firsthand the, “I told you so” that was sure to come from all those who had warned us and begged us to leave.
From my perspective, or from the perspective of those lived in the Superdome while New Orleans fell apart all around them, it is difficult to imagine a time when things could be worse. But things will get worse.
When the day of the Lord comes, i.e., the Great Tribulation, or, years of hell on Earth, our world will be worse than New Orleans after Katrina (you can read all about the devastation, destruction and death in the book of Revelation).
However, before the Great Tribulation, Jesus will remove all those who believe in Him and His offer of salvation. Those of us who believe won’t be around for Battlefield Earth; I imagine we’ll be singing praises to God in Heaven instead. Still, Christians can’t just sit idly by and wait for our golden ticket off this rock; we must prepare for Jesus’ second coming.
Preparation doesn’t mean stocking up on water bottles and boxes of MREs and fleeing our homes. It means spreading God’s Word to as many people as we can, praying to do His will and living our lives according to the Apostle Paul’s example (after all, people are always watching).
We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-8
This means, even as we wait for Jesus’ return, even if you currently devote your entire being to spreading His Word as Paul did, you should at all times earn your God-given living.
Apparently, back in Paul’s day even he dealt with some of the same stubbornness I demonstrated during an impending hurricane. The Thessalonians very much believed Jesus was coming and therefore, figured they should take a load off, grab a front row seat next to a window pane and watch the dark clouds roll in (quite like my refusal to prepare my family and home for the storm I could see brewing on my TV screen.) In 2 Thessalonians, Paul writes to the folks of Thessalonica who had up and quit their jobs and were – for all intents and purposes – sitting on their rooftops, waiting for Jesus to return. They had become, in Paul’s words, “idle…busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11). He insisted they get back to work; you cannot wait out a storm without first preparing for it.
If a man will not work, he shall not eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10
And then there are those who flat-out ignore the prophecies and descriptions of Jesus’ second coming and the Great Tribulation written all throughout God’s Word, figuring there is no such thing as impending doom, just as I ignored the warning signs back in 2005. I’ve got news for those of you who fall into this category. It’s coming. It just a matter of when.
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:44
I can give a first-hand account of what it means to deny the warning of imminent danger. Thankfully, I did not reap the repercussions of my lack of poor planning and decision-making. When Jesus comes a second time, reaping souls Heaven-bound, I want to be one of the first to get in line, with all of my family and friends around me. In preparation, I’ll spread His Word to anyone who will listen because I don’t want to watch those I had a chance to witness to turned away at the gate of God…what a terrible sight that would be. I’ll strive not to waste this one, short life God has blessed me with, witnessing for Him right up until the day He calls me home (some days are harder than others to this, but at least I don’t have to eat MREs).
What are you doing to prepare for Jesus’ second coming?
Reference: History.com. Retrieved at: http://www.history.com/topics/hurricane-katrina