Like millions of viewers I have been glued to the TV the last few days over the coverage of Sandy. As I watch the workers cleaning out the mounts of debris and the national guards going on their grim search missions, my heart and prayers go out to the people whose lives have been turned upside down. It is one of the worst nature disasters to hit the largest city in USA. The devastation is mammoth, often I thought I am watching one of those disasters movies from Hollywood, but unfortunately it is real life and time. I still cannot believe that it is barely a year ago I was at the city that never sleeps. It is alarming to see that in a matter of a day, this glamorous city can turn into a ghost town and a war zone: Scores of houses are lost in the storm, either flooded or burned to the ground. The extensive underground subway system which normally used by 5 million of riders is severely crippled. The heart-throb of the financial world , Wall Street, was shut down for two days.
This storm once again showed man’s inabilities against nature. It does not matter how well people can prepare themselves, we are totally helpless and vulnerable against nature’s power. As someone said in an interview, the city is humbled by the storm just as the Bible has mentioned that God does humble the proud, and the arrogant cannot stand in His presence. ( Psalm 5:5; 1 Peter 5:5)
One other thing which disturbed me is how people reacted to the warnings. I cannot shake the image of Governor Christie, who angrily said that the people had been warned about this storm and were told to evacuate, but unfortunately there were people who chose to stay behind, and now they have to shoulder their responsibilities which sadly are too huge. As in the example of this couple who thought they had everything they needed for the storm: a generator, well stocked food and water, a life raft in the middle of their living room and a boat in their backyard. But they had never expected how severe this storm was, and no matter how well they protected the house, they are not spared from the destruction. At the end of interview the man said wistfully: he did not realize how serious the warnings were, and wish he had left when he had a chance.
History has shown repeatedly that we tend not to heed warnings. The Bible is filled with exhortations and yet they are often ignored by man until dire consequences. As I watch the wake of Sandy my heart is filled with fear of the Lord for He is not to be mocked, I need to study His words and pay close attention to His warnings. Just as the people needed to evacuate on the eve of the storm, I need to be alert and obedient. And as a disciple I need to remember that I am His watchman. It is hard to be the one to stand up to say the hard truth, for at times the truth might not be willingly received. But this is what He had commanded in Ezekiel 33
7-9 “You, son of man, are the watchman. I’ve made you a watchman for Israel. The minute you hear a message from me, warn them. If I say to the wicked, ‘Wicked man, wicked woman, you’re on the fast track to death!’ and you don’t speak up and warn the wicked to change their ways, the wicked will die unwarned in their sins and I’ll hold you responsible for their bloodshed. But if you warn the wicked to change their ways and they don’t do it, they’ll die in their sins well-warned and at least you will have saved your own life.”
If any thing else, this storm has reminded me to be courageous and to point people to God. Often the hard truth will not be easily accepted or liked, but I am not to please man but God.