After Easter service this year I boarded a plane and went to Atlanta to work on my next book and a few other projects. I planned to enjoy weather that was a touch warmer than what we were experiencing here in Milwaukee. I boarded the plane and had a wonderful flight. I arrived and was picked up from the airport by a dear friend and headed to lock myself in to begin the writing that was long overdue.
Despite some initial distractions caused by an influx of calls, I got started on my mission. People back home were holding me accountable to get this book finished so I began to write and little by little things began to come together. Day one ran into day two, day two came to a close and the only visitor I had was the Chinese food deliveryman. I wrote through the second night until the sun rose on day three.
On Wednesday as I finally took note of the television providing background noise behind my laptop screen I saw a rainbow of brightly lit vivid colors gliding across a map of the South. I turned up the sound and wondered, “Why is there a tornado warning for fourteen hours straight?” I looked and saw that the majority of the worst storms were still far away and continued to work.
As the day progressed, my typing slowed significantly as I began to notice that the storm was gaining strength and speed and I realized that Atlanta was in the path of the impending storm. I began to look around my cousin’s three level home and realized that the level that I needed wasn’t there. There was no basement. How do you not have a basement? What in the world would possess my cousin to buy a home with a missing layer? Being from Milwaukee, we ALL have basements and most of us don’t just have basements, we have fully stocked basements so that when a storm approaches we don’t have to “get ready” we ARE ready.
The storm had hit Alabama with such fury that it seemed as though Tuscaloosa was unrecognizable and the damage was spreading. The sky was still clear in Atlanta but it was equally clear that Georgia was going to be in for a long night. My cousin had been out of town since I arrived in Atlanta and I had been alone in the house, which was perfect for writing but not good when a storm large enough to decimate an entire city is heading your way.
I called my friend who had picked me up from the airport and we ran to the gas station to fill the tank, Kroger to fill the pantry and Waffle House to fill our stomachs in case the storm knocked out power. We got back to the house with no basement and watched the news. Now southern news stations are significantly more transparent than stations up North. Down South they just tell the truth – raw and uncut. If you’re going to die they are going to tell you. At midnight the weatherman said, “If I were you I wouldn’t go to sleep. You need to be aware of what’s going on before trouble hits.”
So I drank a five-hour energy at 1 o’clock in the morning in an effort to stay awake and it occurred to me that the warning that the weatherman gave is the same warning that we give, or should be giving, as pastors and ministers every time we preach or teach. We admonish people to stay awake spiritually and “be aware of what’s going on before trouble hits.” We are called by God to watch the signs, not just of the time and on the world stage, but in our own homes and churches.
When was the last time you took time to hear what was on the radar of your spouses’ heart? Do you know if your children are facing a storm at school or on the playground or in the lunchroom? Do you actively see the storms coming or are you putting major issues on mute and pretending that nothing is happening while the debris of your life is flying all around you? Are you in touch with your own feelings and emotions or do you just let them erupt and damage people and relationships? Do you have a spiritual basement where you can take shelter in difficult times?
Don’t take the beauty of your surroundings as a sign of your security. You can have all of the money and fame in the world but if you do not have a relationship with God you are without shelter from the storms of life. It’s time to take inventory of where you are and what is coming, I wouldn’t fall asleep if I were you.
August 19, 2012 //
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August 19, 2012 //
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