There's an ancient Chinese proverb that says "A wise man heeds warnings."
Actually, it isn't Chinese. And it isn't particularly ancient. As a matter of fact, I made it up, but you've got to admit it makes a lot of sense.
Our family found itself "heeding" like crazy last week when a tornado whipped through our county. The weather had been gloomy all day, but not particularly sinister, which is why we were surprised when a "severe thunderstorm warning" came across our television.
We were getting ready for Wednesday night prayer meeting, but decided to take a few minutes to check out the weather. We found the TV screen taken up by a map lit up like a Christmas tree, with the brightest area being ours. (It was pretty, but it wasn't a good sign.)
Our severe thunderstorm warning was upgraded to a tornado watch, followed by a tornado warning.
At this point my husband, Bob, canceled the prayer meeting as a safety precaution, and we began paying extra close attention to the weather. In a few minutes, the weather guy recommended that everyone in the tornado's probable path seek immediate shelter, be it in a basement, bathroom or inside room.
A few minutes after that, he said something along the lines of, "If you want to save your life, take shelter right away."
He went on to explain that a tornado can sweep through in a matter of seconds with no warning. If people aren't prepared, it can be too late.
At this point Bob, our daughter, Val, and I headed to the basement. Once downstairs, Bob kept tuned to his tablet to stay abreast of weather changes. I stood in one spot with my arms wrapped around my body. (Everyone knows if you're really still the tornado can't find you.) Val did what she does best. She griped.
"This is ridiculous," she said. "Why do we have to stay in the basement? Nothing's gonna happen."
"That's what everyone thinks," I told her. "Bad things always happen to other people. Well, we're 'other people' to other people, just as 'other people' are 'other people' to us. In other words, every person is somebody else's 'other people.' See what I mean?"
"No, and now I have a headache," she said. "Besides, I don't know why you're afraid. If a tornado does come, we'll get to be with Jesus. Isn't that neat?"
"Well, sure," I said, "unless we're just maimed."
"Mom, you think way too much."
After about 30 minutes the tornado had passed by with no touchdown and no harm done. Praise the Lord. Had things turned out otherwise, though, we would have been prepared.
The Bible tells us that Christ will return in the twinkling of an eye. Are you prepared?