EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEMNovember 9th, 2011
Remember that rhyme about Europe? “Austria was Hungary, very very Hungary, ate a bit of Turkey, dipped in Greece. Long-legged Italy, kicked poor Sicily, into the Mediterranean Sea.” (http://wiki.answers.com) Just an old memory device for school children? Perhaps. But for the nations clustered around the Mediterranean today neither rhyme nor reason seems to depict their plight. Last week all economic eyes were on Greece. This week the financial world nervously is watching Italy. Who will it be next week?
Iran? On Tuesday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, released a formal report that challenges Tehran’s assertion that its atomic nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes. The IAEA now asserts that Iran has for several years been testing components of a potential nuclear weapons device. Already voices in Israel and the United States are clamoring for retaliatory action against Iran’s nuclear sites. For now calmer heads are prevailing. But next week?
And if all this weren’t enough, earth experienced a “near miss” with an aircraft-carrier-sized asteroid that blew past us this week at 30,000 mph and 201,700 miles away. What a week! (We should’ve stayed in bed.)
The point? Disequilibrium (the absence of homeostasis) is the name of the game on this planet any more. It has become our daily fare. Which is precisely the danger. Because, like the frog in the kettle analogy, we can become so accustomed to adrenalized headlines that we actually miss the stunning reality of accumulating events, until (like the hapless frog) it’s too late.
That’s why I take comfort in Jesus’ upper room promise on the eve of his death: “‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come’” (John 16:13). Good news #1—we have a divine Guide who will journey with us to the end of the age. Good news #2—he knows the future. Good news #3—he will keep his friends informed regarding “what is yet to come.” Good news #4—which is why we have nothing to fear for the future, no matter how many alerts are sounding!
Did you hear FEMA’s (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) first-time simultaneous national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) this past Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET)? Designed to enable the President to address the nation within 10 minutes from any location any time, the EAS on Wednesday sounded the now familiar sustained tone for 30 seconds on every radio, television, cable and satellite station in the nation. Just a drill, we were reminded over and over. But stating the obvious, the day is coming when it will be no drill. And when that day comes the very good news is that you won’t need 10 minutes to connect with God—the Spirit of Christ, who is with you, will already have prepared you for the alert. The point? Stay close, and not a single alert will catch you off guard.