By Debra Whittington
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
The recent fires that devastated residents in southern California should serve as a wakeup call for all of us. None of us know when a tragedy might strike in our lives and most of us are unprepared for the unthinkable to happen. For the 881,500 people who were evacuated all had other plans for the upcoming week.
Mark and I frequently watch the KTLA morning news from Los Angeles to catch up on news, sports, and upcoming movies and television shows. This broadcast is mostly upbeat and entertaining with reports on area events and locations of interest in southern California. Last week all of that changed.
Reports on entertainment were cancelled as lifestyle reporters were focusing on where the evacuees were being located. The traffic reports showed the wildfires that destroyed over 400,000 acres instead of the traffic jams on the freeways.
Other reports focused on many of the 1,155 homes that were burned instead of new exhibits at one of the many museums in the area. Instead of fans pouring into the stadium in San Diego for an upcoming football game, evacuees were calmly waiting to hear if their home survived.
The Boy Scouts have a motto of “Be Prepared” which should apply to all of us. Watching what happened to others and hearing of how many only had a few minutes to evacuate I wondered what I would do in a similar circumstance. If you only had a few minutes to leave your home, what would you take with you? I realized that I don’t have a plan in place and I needed to take time to come up with one.
During many of the interviews with people who lost everything people commented over and over how important it was that their family was safe. They could rebuild their home and go on because they had their family. My prayers are with these families. Some of them have connections with people in our church. We thanked the Lord when we heard that one of them was safe and able to return to their home.
There is so much heartache and sorrow in this world as we hear of tragedy after tragedy. It sometimes makes me think about the end of the world that could come at any time. Jesus told His disciples that many things would happen in the last days. They were wondering when the end of the world would come. In Matthew 24 he warns against being deceived by false prophets and tells of things yet to come.
Jesus uses the parable of a fig tree to emphasize His point. When a fig tree putting on leaves indicating that summer is at hand, so too we can look around us to see that the second coming of Jesus is coming. Even though only God knows the day and time we can be sure it will happen because of the promises of Jesus. He told the disciples, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Matthew 24:35, 42)
In a world filled with tragedy and despair people are looking for peace, but many are unable to find the peace they seek. Jesus is the one who can give that perfect peace that nothing else can fill and it is up to Christians to share the promises with those around them. More than ever people need to experience the peace of God which Paul states, “surpasses all understanding”.
With so much uncertainty in this world, there is no use putting off the important things of life like salvation. In 2 Corinthians 6:2 Paul tells the Corinthian church, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Perfect peace comes with allowing Jesus to be in control of our lives and allowing Him to be Lord and Savior of our lives. While we can’t visually see Jesus, He is still among us through the Holy Spirit. Although the world may seem to be falling apart around us, we can still experience that perfect peace that only Jesus can give.
Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? Have you put off getting around to “religious things” until the time is right? We never know when tragedy will strike so we need to be prepared for anything. Until Jesus returns we need to be about the task of sharing Jesus and the peace He gives with others. Who do you know that could use this Good News?