There is something fearful, frightful and horrifying about towering flames furiously destroying everything in their path. The raging infernos in Southern California seemed almost apocalyptic in character.
The scenes were stark and real: people refusing to leave their million dollar homes, standing on their rooftops hosing down fiery cinders trying to save their valued possessions; others packing their valuables into vehicles and fleeing out of the driveways for shelter; people wrapping arms around each other trying to console and comfort as they helplessly watched; and many other sad images.
The rich and famous along with all the others were seized with terror and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and loss of control. People who control millions and manage corporations were no longer in control. They encountered a situation they couldn’t manage. They too had to flee to shelters. We united in our prayers for those so adversely affected by the devastating fires.
The proud façade, the human veneer of wealth and mansions and indomitable spirits of the successful were stripped away – at least for a short while.
A few remained defiant. One lady was asked if the raging nearby inferno caused her to have second thoughts about her location. She said: “No, not a one! There’s no place like it!”
Richard and Jean Sanders have lived in the fire zone for 19 years and they get nervous when the seasonal Santa Ana winds begin to blow. They love the smell of eucalyptus and pine and the space they have for tending their dogs and horses. This time it came very close. They had to evacuate.
Mrs. Sanders stared open-mouthed at the fury of the fire as it descended on their neighborhood, sparing their house but devouring others. “The fire just flew over the hills at what must have been at least 30 miles per hour,” she said. “It just hopped the freeway with no problem, caught the grass over there and went straight up the hill and started catching houses on fire randomly.”
She shook her head. “Part of me says get out of town,” she said. “And the other part says I could not stand to leave.” (1)
There is a Biblical parallel. In Genesis, God in His grace and kindness warned Lot and his family to flee from coming judgment that would fall on Sodom. God was about to punish the city for its godless culture. Ezekiel 16:49 provides a thumbnail sketch of their hedonistic society: pride, abundance of food and leisure, prosperity and sin and wicked lifestyles. They catered to and pleased themselves and ignored the poor and needy.
God would destroy the city. Lot and his family had to be coaxed and dragged out of the city. Some remained defiant and chose not to leave. Lot’s wife was so attached, she longed to return. She turned back to see what she loved and that was the moment she perished.
If we could interview Mrs. Lot today she would probably say: “Back then, a part of me said ‘get out of town’ but the other part said, ‘I can’t stand to leave.’
The consequences? Mrs. Lot is lost forever. Jesus kindly warned people in a very succinct and direct manner when He said: “Remember Lot’s wife.” Luke 17:32.
The Bible advises there is a future day of wrath that will overtake this planet. The rich and the poor, princes and paupers, the kings of the world and the kingpins of the underworld alike will flee and try to find shelter to hide themselves from the wrath of God. You can read about this awful day in Revelation 6:14-17.
But what about today – are you in any danger? Friend if you aren’t safe in Christ, you are at tremendous risk. You are in the unsafe zone. You are not spiritually prepared. Death could barge into your life later today or obliterate your plans later this month. We never know when it will happen but we know it will.
Maybe part of you says: “Get ready. Get right with God. Get the issue of your sins resolved. Get Christ. Find forgiveness. Be saved. Obtain eternal life.” Part of you says that. But there’s another part of you that screams loudly: “Not yet. I can’t stand to leave my pleasures and sins behind me. I’ve heard the evacuation orders. In my heart I’ve heard the pleadings of the Saviour to come to Him for shelter, safety and forgiveness and rest – but I am torn. Shall I accept Christ now or linger longer and cling to my fun, friends and lifestyle. Should I chance it?”
Friend, we urge you to flee to Christ. His arms are wide open and waiting to receive you. You may not have another day to get to safety. Come today.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”