Published July 26, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Ready Or Not"

"Life comes at you fast!"

Each of us can surely attest to the truth of that slogan from an insurance company's advertising campaign a few years ago. Unexpected tragedies happen every day. The Christmas 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 280,000. An earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 killed 100,000. Another, in China in 1976, killed as many as 779,000*. All of these non-manmade tragedies resulting in loss of life on a grand scale happened essentially without warning.

And then there's the more mundane but much more common loss of life in auto accidents. In one recent year (2014, the most recent full year for which final totals are available), highway crashes in the USA alone claimed 32,675 lives (and final 2015 figures are projected to be higher). Not one of these people got into their cars planning to have an accident that would suddenly and unexpectedly usher them into eternity.

Perhaps Americans best identify with the tragic events of September 11, 2001, when roughly 3,000 persons died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (and those who heroically died when they sacrificed their lives to bring down a fourth plane in Pennsylvania). And there are the mass casualties resulting from recent terrorist attacks in Nice, France, and elsewhere around the world.

To render that slogan above more appropriately, "Death comes at you fast!"

As Dr. Billy Graham aptly put it in his post-9/11 remarks at Washington's National Cathedral, "This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we, too, will be called into eternity. I doubt if even one of those people who got on those planes or walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon last Tuesday morning thought it would be the last day of their lives. It didn't occur to them. And that's why each of us needs to face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will now."

Because none of us knows when our final day will be on this earth, we must be ready! The spiritual consequences of being unprepared are eternal. Death allows no "second chance" at salvation. Do you know someone – a friend or perhaps a relative – who died totally unexpectedly? Chances are that you do. It's not uncommon. Death seldom announces itself in advance.

Are you ready? If today some tragedy were to strike you down, would you be ready to face God? If the Lord were to return this very day, would you be ready? Do you know Christ as your Savior and Lord? Have you surrendered your life to Him? If not, do it today! Right now!

After all, one day – maybe some day soon – the Lord will say, "Ready or not, here I come..."

" ready..." (Matt. 24:44.)

- Paul


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