The camera panned in as the funnel cloud tore through the subdivision across the street. I don’t know what the neighbor was thinking, standing by her window, videotaping the storm outside her door. Her hand was so steady, her voice so calm. If it were me, I’d be running for cover, even with the funnel cloud moving the opposite direction. But she seemed oblivious to imminent danger.
It must have been surreal, watching the world as she knew it come crumbling down before her eyes. Did she fear for her own life? Her own family? Her own house and things?
This tornado hit down about an hour from where I live—closer to home than any twister yet. For the woman behind the camera, it was inches away. Did the reality hit her as hard as it hit those across the street?
We see videos of hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, or tornadoes and are struck with the horror that faces the victims along with the fleeting thought of what if it happened to me? The thought washes away as quickly as the storm as we return to our daily lives. Are we ever sufficiently gripped with the reality that much of what we labor for could be gone in an instant? Can we honestly say what we invest our time, energy, and resources in is worth it if it can be so easily be destroyed?
I once watched a video of the Indonesian tsunami’s aftermath, and was taken by all the stuff floating through the water—stuff people had once invested their lives in…gone. More recently, I spoke with a woman who lost everything but her family to a fire. All she and her husband labored for…ashes and soot.
How easily we convince ourselves that material things are worthy of our labor, while the important things slip away unnoticed until tragedy strikes. The storms are ever closer, bidding us to open our eyes. Live for what’s important. Live for what truly matters. Live for what lasts. Don’t waste precious minutes fretting for that which is destined to fade. Stop. Now. Consider what’s truly worth living for.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)