The average temperature in Galveston, Texas is 57-degrees for the month of February. Tuesday morning it was 19, 95-percent of homes were without power, and six deaths were confirmed or being investigated as related to the weather conditions1. Unexpectedly, people were thrust into a world where the electrical power we all rely on to keep us warm was gone. The water still isn’t safe to drink, there is no food on grocery store shelves, and those water pipes that froze in unheated homes are now broken and gushing untreated water with no way to stop it2.
Before we go any further, we should acknowledge the real pain and hardship many are suffering from the frigid temperatures, ice, and snow across this country. As individuals and a church we should look to render aid in any way we can. I contacted friends at churches in Texas this week. Financial support was not what they needed. So, what is to be done? Pray. Linemen, firefighters, police, health-care workers, shelter volunteers, truck drivers, and thousands of others would provide the solutions to this emergency. They, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, need the strength of God that comes through prayer (Ephesians 3:16-21; 6:18). May God watch over those who suffer and those who ease suffering.
However, there are practical and spiritual lessons to be learned from this crisis. The time to store water, unperishable food, propane, fire wood, or even buy a generator is before the storm hits. Have you ever tried to buy a sled 24-hours after the snow started falling? Many of us lived through the same kind of disaster in 1994. It’s the reason there are natural gas logs in our fireplace and a gas furnace in the basement. Living through a week without power, cooking with a camp stove, and thankfully zipping an Air Force surplus, down sleeping bag will teach you many lessons. It’s impossible to prepare for every situation. That’s why the word unforeseen exists. But we can take the Boy Scout motto seriously and, “be prepared.”
The spiritual lessons are even more important to internalize. The people of Texas suddenly found themselves in a situation for which they had not prepared. Worse yet, they had no way to save themselves from disaster once it arrived. The time to get ready had passed. The coming of the Lord will be the same. No one every thinks it will happen to them. Even when prophets and weather forecasters warned it was likely to occur. On that day, many will look with jealous eyes on those rising to be with the Lord in the air. But it will be too late. And their problem won’t be the cold.
One of the difficulties of getting people prepared for the end of the world is, it hasn’t happened yet. Preachers have been proclaiming repentance since the days of the apostles and the response from many is unchanged, “They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”-II Peter 3:4.
The second obstacle for some is the lack of a set date. But that’s the thing about unprecedented events. They haven’t happened before and you can’t know precisely when they will arrive. That’s where faith comes into play. Because we believe Jesus will return (I Corinthians 15:22-23). Because we know we are in sin and need a Savior before we meet God (II Peter 3:11-13). We prepare for the Lord’s day with joy and expectation (Revelation 22:20).
Hear and believe. “We all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”-II Corinthians 5:10. When Jesus comes to reward the faithful it will be too late to get right with God, “those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast…the other virgins came also…But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”-Matthew 5:10-12. Are you ready? Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Have you received the grace of God through baptism? The time to prepare is now.
1 Lopardi, Michael. “Potential Criminal Charges in Weather-Related Deaths in Galveston County.” KPRC, KPRC Click2Houston, 19 Feb. 2021.
2 “Galveston Mayor Details Destruction from Deep Freeze on ‘Good Morning America’.” ABC13 Houston, KTRK-TV, 18 Feb. 2021.