Wednesday, 02 August 2017 05:57

Ignoring Tornadoes

Written by  Sam Whatley
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Canadian Cecilia Wessels of Three Hills, Alberta was awakened from her nap on June 2, 2017, by her nine-year-old daughter warning her that something strange was in the sky. She went to the backyard to see a huge funnel cloud churning up dirt about a mile away. Picking up the camera, she snapped some photos of the tornado to send to her parents in South Africa. The photos showed something else. Her husband, Theunis, was in the backyard mowing the grass.


When questioned about his actions later, her husband replied, “It was just forming and getting bigger. I was seeing it coming up. I was watching it all the time.”


Fortunately for everyone, the tornado turned east and went away. Mr. Wessels denied that he was in any danger. He said he was familiar with tornadoes because he had once seen a TV program about storm chasers. He added, “I did get the lawn finished and it looks nice.”


Had Mr. Wessels immigrated from Alabama, instead of South Africa, he might have had his family in the bathroom, listening to the weather radio and praying for mercy. Folks in Alabama have seen entire neighborhoods destroyed, forests leveled, and debris flung for miles. We have seen the destruction ourselves, or we know someone who has. Tornadoes are serious.


But perhaps we ignore other kinds of storms that can be just as destructive.


When it comes to secret sin in our lives, I wonder if most of us are mowing our lawn with our backs to the funnel cloud. How many of us harbor something in our spirit that we know is dangerous, but are not willing to face?  There are many vices and addictions that would qualify, but perhaps the least discussed is lust.


We, in America, have made it socially acceptable to seek out and live out any kind of physical attraction that pleases us. God has told us this will only bring us pain.


Yet, lust is central to our music, art, advertising, and entertainment. It is hard to find a novel or movie without nudity and what is called the Obligatory Sex Scene. But this temptation can also show up as flirting with the wrong person or choosing clothes to make heads turn when you walk by.


This tornado of emotion and passion attracts Christians as well as others. One study estimates that most church-going Christian men watch pornography on a regular basis. I hope that is not true. But, many Christian leaders have been robbed of their witness for Christ by the lure of lust.


Lust can affect either gender and almost anyone from adolescence to old age. It’s Satan’s ploy that implies God cannot meet all of our needs, and that we should have fun, whatever it costs.


We are tempted to believe that we can handle our private tornadoes without any help, especially if we think no one knows about our secret sin. The truth is we can’t predict which way our personal tornado may turn. When the problem is no longer a mile away, but right on top of our lives things will look different. We cannot envision the flying debris or the extent of damage that can come from choosing to ignore what we know is right and not confessing and repenting of our sinful choices.


This is where God’s Word can spare us the scars of learning everything through experience, if we humble ourselves and seek Him. He knows exactly what will happen in the future. We do not have to destroy ourselves and those we love. We can find comfort in these words from the first letter of John, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (I John 1:9 NIV). Or this reminder that Paul sent to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23 NIV).


Like Mr. Wessels, we all have things we need to do. But the best thing is to talk to God about our sins while they are still on the horizon.  Then trust His solution.


After all, the lawn can wait.



**Sam Whatley’s latest book, Ponder Anew, is now available at the Frazer Bookstore located inside Frazer Memorial UMC.





Last modified on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 06:02
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