June 3, 2014
... But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 2 Timothy 1:12b
On February 1, 2007, the United States began to use the Enhanced Fujita Scale to measure tornadoes by the damage they cause. Using the EF scale, a tornado is rated between 1 and 5.
The tornado which struck Vilonia, Arkansas, on April 27 of this year was designated an EF4. That means the storm's winds were moving somewhere between 166 and 200 mph.
Anyone who has lived through such a windstorm can understand why 22-year-old Jeffrey Hunter was afraid. It was that fear which he conveyed in a text sent to his mother, Regina. In return, she did what mothers do: she told her boy everything would be okay.
But everything wasn't okay.
Later, Jeffrey wrote, "Goodbye, mama," and then, "It's heading right for me." Regina texted her son a number of times and asked if he was all right. She never received a response. Jeffrey never answered because he couldn't. His unconscious body was found on the ground and later, without gaining consciousness, Jeffrey Hunter died.
Reading that story, I wondered if you thought your earthly end was going to come in the next few minutes, who would you talk to and what would you say?
Would you, like Jeffrey, speak of fear and your probable end? Would you, like so many who were caught in the Twin Towers on 9/11 send out messages of love and hope of a heavenly reunion? Would you offer words of forgiveness to someone?
Is it possible you might echo the words of St. Paul who said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
There are a number of ways you could go, a number of messages that could be conveyed. All of this leads me to ask, why wait?
Yes, why wait until an EF4 tornado is blackening the sky, or a crashed jet has you confined to your office floor? Why wait until your last moments before you share your faith, or your fears, with those who are closest to you? If you are a person who has been given faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin, you can comfort others by telling them you are secure in your belief and confident about the afterlife the risen Redeemer has given you.
On the other hand, if you have no Savior, this would be the time to investigate the claims of Scripture, which point to God's crucified and risen Son as your Redeemer. For your eternity, for everyone's comfort, this is the time to look at the greatness of God's grace.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, my ending is coming. May I be comforted by the Christ, and extend that comfort to those around me. May they know I am at peace because of my Savior. In His Name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries