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The Perfect Storm

“A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess.” Zephaniah 1:15

Meteorologists called the storm that hit North America’s eastern seaboard in October 1991 a “perfect storm” because of the rare combination of factors that created it. For everyone else, it was perfect hell.  Then, on August 23, 2005, Tropical Depression Twelve—a.k.a. Katrina—formed over the southeastern Bahamas. It sustained winds of 184 mph, making it the fourth most intense Atlantic Basin hurricane on record. Katrina made landfall three times, affecting a wide swath of land covering a massive portion of southern and eastern North America. A fifteen to thirty foot storm surge came ashore on virtually the entire coastline from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to Florida. The surge recorded at Biloxi, Mississippi is the highest ever observed in America.  Upper air movement, water temperature and the barometric pressure all converged at a critical point, making this a perfect storm. The overbuilt, overpopulated coastline presented its most vulnerable point. Katrina was categorized at Level Five, but the levees were built for a Category Three.  Miscalculation and denial gave people a false sense of security.  

I detail the damage and devastation of Hurricane Katrina because it is a microcosm, a miniature example of a coming storm, a storm that is outlined in the Book of Revelation.  The four horsemen of the Apocalypse rain down famines, plagues, geophysical upheaval and death.  “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. NIV.  And, there is more to come.  Hail and fire mingled with blood, the sea turned blood-red, sea-life destroyed, and ships sunk rock John’s prophetic pages. 

How will people react?  “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore. They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’ The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment.” Revelation 18:11-15 NIV.  This storm—not of the century, but of the millennia of human history—gathers, even as I write this piece. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”  2 Peter 3:10-12. 

The Bible predicts the perfect storm.  Most people don’t believe it. If they do believe it’s coming, they don’t believe it will affect them.  If it does affect them, they don’t think it will be that bad. If it is bad, they think they will be rescued. If most people are rescued, everything will be rebuilt and get back to normal. But, the predominant story of Katrina was not the intensity of the hurricane but the lack of preparedness of people!

The predominant story of the coming storm is not the extreme destruction it will cause; it is not that ample warnings didn’t go out; it is not that people didn’t have an evacuation plan.  It is that too many people were lulled into a false sense of security.  Yes, Jesus may be coming…later. The Great Tribulation is coming…later. Prophecy will be fulfilled…later.  Heed the warnings.  Publish the news.  Your eternal life depends on it!

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