Though there was a lot of damage and property loss from Hurricane Matthew here in Edgecombe County where I now live, I am grateful that lives were saved. Glory goes to God and credit goes to those who heard and heeded warnings to evacuate.
With 24 hour news coverage available and technology that has us wired to the world, there seems to always be reports of some natural disaster. Whether it’s wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, or hurricanes like we had here, there seems to be a constant state of emergency somewhere. It’s terrible to see the damage that is done, but it’s tragic to hear about the lives lost.
But the thing about it is, advances in warning systems have greatly improved people’s chances of surviving. With better satellite and radar capabilities, storms and other natural events can be predicted more accurately. For example, while we were working in the Emergency Operations Center during the worst of the storm and flooding, we had teams constantly monitoring online flood inundation maps that were fairly accurate in predicting what roads and neighborhoods would get flooded. So we were able to send in law enforcement and emergency response teams to warn people to evacuate.
It’s one thing to hear a warning, but it’s a whole other thing to heed the warning. Certainly, there are just some natural disasters that can’t be escaped, and people lose their lives in spite of the best efforts to warn them. But sometimes lives are lost because people don’t heed the warning they have heard. They don’t take shelter, or they don’t evacuate. They stay home when they should leave, or leave when they should stay home. They drive through water when they have been warned not to drive through water.
You know, the Bible is full of warnings, the main of which is the warning about the penalty of our sins. The warning is that we are all sinners, and because of it we will live without hope and die without God. We are warned that we will spend eternity separated from God in a place called Sheol in the Hebrew, Hades in the Greek, and translated for us in English as Hell. And from that place of eternal torment there is no end and no escape. That is the warning.
But aren’t you glad when a disaster looms that you receive not only a warning of the impending danger, but also instructions on how to escape it? I know I am. And the Bible does just that. It tells us that our ONLY way to escape that eternal disaster is through believing in Jesus Christ. He has paid our debt when we couldn’t, and died on the cross so we didn’t have to. But we have to believe in Him and admit that we do before it’s too late; either before the world ends or our life does, which ever comes first. That is our warning.
It’s a terrible thing for those who will leave this world never hearing that warning. That is why those of us who believe are to tell as many people as we can. But it is even more tragic for those who hear that warning and never heed that warning. Don’t let that be you!
Edgecombe County Manager