Skip to main content

Consider yourself warned

Last night, the name of the small town I live in was mentioned on the 2 of the broadcast TV stations in Little Rock. While this sounds like we have arrived into fame, it was actually this:

"Looks like that rotation is headed toward….Almyra."

That rotation? Well, that's the radar echo in a cloud that makes the weatherman think a tornado is either there or soon to be there. It's not a happy thing.

At that point, we decided to go ahead and get the kids up, move them to our bedroom, and watch to see what happened. Before that, just Ann and I were up and watching radar screens. Well, watching the internet posts of radar screens. We don't have our own weather radar though that would be awesome!

It's a debate for us how to respond to the storm warnings. We've both been here in the South for a long time, and we're kind of dull towards certain weather words because of it. "Tornado watch" and "Severe Thunderstorm Watch" are two of them. Why? They happen all the time. Seriously.

Here in East Arkansas, for example, we are either in high fire danger because it's too dry or under a tornado watch. I don't have documentation for that, but it seems true.

Even swapping Warning in for Watch doesn't get us as excited as it used to. There was a time that the weather people issued a warning only when there was visible evidence of a tornado. That required storm spotters and also delayed such things to the last minute. With technology improvements, now they can issue a warning based on radar and give people much more time to know a tornado is near them.

Except that system still warns entire counties. Arkansas County is over 1000 square miles (Rhode Island is a little over 1500 square miles). That's a lot of territory, and if there's a tornado moving in some parts of the county, it could still be clear in other parts! And yes, that happens. Not as much in this county because it's so flat, but there are counties in Arkansas where that's normal.

In truth, we don't really get excited about the storm systems until we hear Almyra from the weatherman. Or see for ourselves via BlackBerry, internet, or getting really close to the TV. It's just so normal for there to be storms around us, even destructive, killer storms, that we sleep through them.

What strikes me about this attitude towards the amazing power of wind and rain is that we so often have it about life. We see the destruction all around us, but we don't really take the threat to us seriously.

It's the refrain of the addict: sure, other people that do this have a problem, but I'm under control. It's not going to destroy me.

It's the refrain of those embarrassed to seek help: I know that depression is a real problem, but it's not a problem I have. That's a problem he has, she has, they have, maybe even you have, but it's not my problem.

It's the refrain of the lonely: true, no man is an island---but I'm strong and I'm fine.

It's the refrain of many of us: that rule may apply to life in general, but I'll find a loophole.

That watch, cautioning me to be careful of temptation, it's not that critical. That warning? That I'm detaching from the world and headed into the darkness of depression? That's just broad information.

We are often so proud, so certain that the problems are "over there" or "down there" that until it calls our name specifically, we take no precautions. We take no actions.

Consider yourself warned, though: the danger is real. The risk is there. It will call your name.

Are you prepared?

What can you do?

Have a safe place. Have safe people. Have a trustworthy God to call out to when the world breaks down.


  1. Good word brother. Glad you guys are safe and didn't get hit by the storms. Tornado warnings are so rare here in ND that I can actually stay up every time one is issued (usually only happens in July). Blizzard warnings just don't carry the same urgency or threat level. You just stay inside.

  2. We don't get them up here, so any time I hear "Tornado Warning" (or Watch, or Whatever) I imagine it loud! And in all caps! And flashing red!

    But we get numb to real danger in other ways, as you've said. Gotta watch that,



Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: are stockpiled here:!