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June 17, 2008

It’s been almost a week and the wake left by whatever tore through our neighborhood last Thursday morning is still obvious.

Across the street, our neighbors’ fence is still in shambles. A dozen yard waste bags stand at attention along the curb, and the stump near the street is still fresh.

At the other end of the block, someone’s tree remains obviously amputated and ashamed next to the porch it accidentally destroyed. It’s future is uncertain. Part of the roof is still missing, and logs line the street for the width of the block.

Windshields have been replaced. Gutters are being repaired, and every day when I come home I stare up at the dead branch hanging precariously at the very top of our injured tree. I’d rather it fall when no one is around than have to pay someone to pull it down.

My parents live in McHenry – a good 30 minutes north – and we laughed about their non-response to the tornado siren that went off Thursday morning. They live blocks away from the fire department, so sirens are not uncommon.

Coworkers, friends, church family have all shared stories of bunkering down in basements and pantries at the sound of the alarms in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Dundee, and Cary. No one has destruction stories to rival ours, but we’re also the only ones who never heard a siren.

I’ve had prophetic words spoken over/at me for years. You hang out with people who believe the New Testament and it happens. One has stuck with me more than the others for a little over two years now, and it had to do with being a siren – the air raid kind, not the nude mermaid kind. If there was one that I could say with all certainty was the word of the Lord it was that one.

And to an extent it’s true of all Christians. Our job is to prepare the way. We’re an army of John the Baptists. We’re the voices in the wilderness that, when everything looks lost, speak truth.

Our neighborhood was the hardest hit, and we were the only ones who did not hear a siren. I was talking to Holy Spirit about the irony of it and he stopped me in my tracks:

“Be ready.”

Tornado sirens are tested on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM. We’re all used to it. We hardly flinch when they go off during staff meetings or classes. The first Tuesday of the month at 10 AM, however, is not the purpose of the siren.

The purpose of the siren is to warn people of the coming danger. Said siren could nail every first Tuesday of the month at 10 AM with stunning accuracy, and still ultimately fail, rendering itself useless, if it doesn’t go off when danger is imminent.

Be ready.

In Matthew 24, Jesus is talking to His disciples. Verse three even says they came to Him privately. He wasn’t talking to the church leaders. He wasn’t talking to the masses. He was talking to the twelve, and in verse 42 He says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”

Matthew 24:44//Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

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