I am sure you have heard the news of the false alarm last Saturday in Hawaii. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency accidentally sent out an automated alert at 8:10 a.m. to every cell phone in the state, as well as to local radio and television stations through the Emergency Broadcast System. The text message read:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
I don’t know if we are getting the truth from the official account of the false alarm that was released to the news–that someone in the EMA office during a shift change “hit the wrong button.” It certainly seems a little suspicious, but maybe the “apocalypse warning” button was right next to the “clock out from work” button. Either way, it took 38 minutes before a corrected text was sent out, this one a little less urgent and without all caps:
“There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.”
Needless to say there was plenty of panic in paradise during those 38 minutes of anticipation of impending doom. Vacationers planning out their day at the beach and native Hawaiians sleeping in on a Saturday morning were all shocked by what they were reading. But most began their preparations for their final moments, cowering in inner rooms, away from windows as they were instructed, heads between knees. I saw a few videos on social media of parents putting their kids down into underground sewer drains, in hopes that they could at least save the next generation from the coming destruction.
I am sure there were plenty of people making things right with one another–confessing and apologizing and saying their final “I love you’s” along the way. No doubt others were trying to make things right with their Maker; I saw a couple of videos that included people praying and bargaining with God.
And then the news came that it was all a big mix-up. “Sorry, our bad. Now go on about your day.” I wonder what conversations ensued to follow up on those apocalyptic confessions during the wait for the beginning of World War III. I can only imagine the awkwardness of trying to get back to normal after such a heart-wrenching event.
Likewise, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if that happened here, and the clock was ticking toward my own life’s end. How would I have reacted? What would I have done, or said? What about you? What would you do?
Certainly, there would have been people I would have wanted to share Christ with, to make sure they knew Him before it was too late. Others I would have wanted to make sure I said my final good-byes to, and told them I loved them one more time. But other than that, I would hope I would be ready, whether my last breath comes as a result of a missile from the sky, an accident in my car, or a sudden and unexpected stopping of my heartbeat.
In the mean time, none of us know when the end of our lives will be, so we’d better get to living the way we need to while we can. Tell those around you about Christ and the eternal hope He offers. Tell them you love them. Be sure to thank them for their impact on your lives. And seek to live like and for Jesus in every minute of every day. Until the end comes.