Scripture

Isaiah 22:8-11 (NIV)

The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah, and you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest.
You saw that the walls of the City of David were broken through in many places; you stored up water in the Lower Pool.
You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

Observation

There are earthquakes in California, tornadoes in the mid-west, and tropical storms throughout the southern and eastern United States. We know that all of these weather events happen regularly and yet, too often, when they do happen we don’t seem to be prepared.

When I was a child, growing up in Maryland, I lived near a river that would flood the single lane, dirt road, going into and out of my neighborhood of houses, nestled on the hills. Sometimes we would be stuck for days without being able to drive out to civilization. Unlike many natural disasters that happen throughout the United States and the world at large, this flooding was never a sudden event that took us by surprise. I remember walking to my bus stop, a mile and a half from home, on many occasions to see the water from the river rising day by day. Furthermore, I remember seeing the water kissing the road in the morning, knowing what I would have to do when I got off of school.

I’ve lived most of my adult life in California, and in stark contrast to the flooding when I was a child, the earthquakes and wildfires here aren’t something that we can usually see coming. I realize though, that when I was a child, we were prepared for the floods. We knew that they would come and we knew what to do when they came. I don’t remember ever being anxious when it started raining, wondering if it would flood. We knew that we were safe from the water because we were on higher ground.

Shortly after I moved to California, many years ago, I was introduced to the ferocity of wildfires. I had been in Santa Barbara less than two months when one day while enjoying the beach, I saw smoke on the very near horizon. We didn’t have all of the means that we do today to find out, “what’s going on?” Therefore, my wife and I packed up our stuff into the car, turned on the radio, and drove home. About ten minutes later we were home not knowing much more than we did when we were at the beach.

There’s something about home that brings us comfort. It doesn’t matter if “home” is a tiny room somewhere or a spacious mansion overlooking nature in all its splendor. We feel safe at home. However, when something threatens our home, it shakes us to our core. While the notion of losing all our stuff is bad enough, it’s the notion that we’ve lost security. We’ve lost the safety of being at home.

When the Painted Cave fire hit Santa Barbara in 1990 I wasn’t prepared and yet I knew what was important. When I was a child, dealing with floods, I knew what was important. Life was more valuable than property. Securing my life and the lives of those around me was the priority. It doesn’t hurt to try and have rations available and a plan of action. These are not bad things. However, in our lives, when disaster strikes, we need to know what’s important and what’s not before it strikes.

We can see here, in Isaiah, that the people of Judah saw the disaster that was coming upon them. However, we can see that they did nothing but try and strengthen their natural defenses. However, we cannot rely on flesh and blood. We cannot rely on the things that we see and the things that we think to be true. We cannot look to our means today and trust in it. I believe that there’s not one person alive today who hasn’t been shaken by the events of the last year or so. Not one person who didn’t see the plans that they had altered by something that they had no control over.

There are endless disasters ahead, waiting for us, some are widespread that affect everyone and there are those that only impact us. We also have, before us, the beauty of all creation. They go hand in hand. Life and death, skipping together, whistling a merry little tune, and we, we have to be prepared for what’s coming. There is only one way I can see, my friends, to be prepared, in this life, for the things to come in it, and the next. That’s by giving your life to God, the One who we see here in Isaiah, “who planned it long ago” (11). Won’t you join me in prayer, for your salvation?

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.