Saturday, April 23, 2011

Midwestern Tornadoes and a Good Friday Thought from Ron Hutchcraft

Yes, it is sprinkling here a bit all day (this so-called GOOD FRIDAY) when the Christian world commemorate. Such misty weather is appropriate for the somber day. Here in Taiwan, though, there are no Tornadoes–Thank God.–KAS

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When the tornado sirens went off in town, I suddenly found myself huddled in a closet with two of my grandchildren. Oh yeah, and the local radio station on real loud. I’m not particularly thrilled about the style of music they play (which shall remain nameless), but they had the scoop on the storms.

As I’m reassuring the kids, I’m thinking, “I hope this closet will do it.” Thankfully, we didn’t have to test it. The tornado went north of us. At our own house, we’ve carefully thought through the safest place to be if we’re suddenly on Twister Expressway. Our other children have basements. We’re glad.

Of course, even a basement is not a guarantee that you’re out of harm’s way. I still remember those folks in that Midwestern town who thought they were safe. When the tornado warning sounded, they headed for the basement of a restaurant in a 100-year old stone building. What didn’t occur to them was that the building stood on an old sandstone foundation. When that twister came through the middle of town, their place of refuge took a direct hit. The tornado destroyed the building, the foundation – and even the basement. And took the lives of all eight people sheltered there.

It’s a sad story. Those folks knew they had to seek safety – and they went to a place that looked like it would save them. They were wrong. Tragically wrong.

According to the Bible, a lot of people are making that same mistake. With their soul. God says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12 ). That’s troubling. But it’s important to know. That you can be thinking you’re spiritually safe when actually it’s the illusion of safety.

In just about every culture on earth, people seem to instinctively know that we’ve got trouble with the One who made us. Because we’ve disobeyed Him. We’ve done life our way instead of His way, over and over again. And we know that we need to do something to get on God’s good side. Thus, religion…rituals…rules to follow. And that “seems right” – a safe place to escape God’s judgment for our sins. But it’s not. God says so, and He’s the final word.

“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands…we are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:20 , 22- NLB).

Sin carries a death penalty that I can’t pay, no matter how nice a guy I am. If it weren’t for Good Friday, I’d have a horrible eternity. Because only Jesus’ death on that cross could erase the long list of my sins. God “took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 ). If any religion or right living could do it, there’s no way God would have ever put His Son through that awful death. But He did. For me. For you.

No religion is a safe place from the storm of God’s judgment. No matter how safe it feels. That’s why Jesus came. And that’s why I’m hanging onto Him alone as my only hope.

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