Nearly 16 years ago on MLK Day (January 17, 1994), I was awakened in the most unusual way. CD’s, books and pictures rattled off my overhead shelf and pummeled my body. I quickly balled up into the fetal position and began praying that this was not the the time. I was experiencing the 6.8 earthquake centered 10 miles away in Northridge. That was then.
This is now. A 7.0 earthquake has struck the impoverished country of Haiti. It is feared that thousands of lives have been lost. Even as I read of the news here in Seattle at my comfy coffee-shop, sipping on my nice warm sugar-free hazelnut flavored coffee; I hear the TV blaring in the background. Want to know what they’re saying?
Was Simon off his rocker? What will happen to Conan or Jay? Was Sarah Palin good on O’Reilly? This is here.
What about there? It is easy to dismiss. It is simple for me to read the news and then move on with my day. What are they (Haitians) doing today? They are picking up the pieces (literally), mourning the losses; searching for and confirming even more loss. Wishing it never happened.
I don’t remember going to bed on January 16, 1994, but I certainly can remember my feelings mid-morning on January 17, 1994. Reports were coming in about all the damage and death. We, in California, were all desperately trying to get in touch with our loved ones to let them know that we were alive. I remember thinking, “it could have easily been a lot worse.” The reality is, it could have. Fortunately the fact that it was a holiday (and the freeways were not busy) and modern architecture in Southern California probably spared millions of lives. Architecture they don’t have in Haiti. That was then.
What about tomorrow? We don’t know it is coming. I know that for the next few weeks we will hear about how to help the Haitians by giving to the Red Cross, World Concern, World Vision and our friends at Samaritan’s Purse. You should really consider giving. However, a greater emergency is looming that needs your attention as well. We don’t know when the “big one” is going to hit your neighborhood. Whether it is an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, flood, cancer, car accident or the return of Christ, we simply don’t know about tomorrow. But one thing we do know… eternity is on the horizon. Scripture says, “every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” The issue, however, is will every person proclaiming that phrase be ushered into an eternity with Jesus? This is coming.
This is now. Christians, we don’t know when the “big one” (or the big “ONE”) is coming. However, we can help the emergency not seem as frantic by preparing our neighbors now. Christ-followers, we are called “ambassadors” (one who speaks for his/her sovereign). We are called to “make disciples,” (a follower of his/her teacher, in our case, Christ) and we are called his “witness” (one who testifies for his/her Lord). As the dust begins to clear in Haiti, surviving neighbors and loved ones will begin to contemplate where the fallen are for eternity. Many will assume that because he or she was “a good person” that they are in Heaven. The Bible teaches this is simply not true. However, scores of Christians are going to wish they really knew for sure that his or her neighbor is in Heaven. They are going to wish they had one more opportunity to share about Jesus.
We have that opportunity RIGHT NOW with our neighbors, co-workers, friends and loved ones. This is right now!
Praying for the relief work, follow-up and evangelism that is to take place in Haiti (please do this as well), but I am sensing even a greater call to pray for my work and your work and our follow-up here and now! If you do not know Jesus and would like to know for sure that you will have an eternity with Him, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me (brian[at]youthmark[dot]com).