"EMERGENCY ALERT! Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.
Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill!"
You may recognize that message as one sent out to mobile phones and television stations in Hawaii on the morning of Saturday, 14 January. For months, our 50th state has been preparing for a missile attack from the crazy man in North Korea. Part of that preparation includes drills, of course. Apparently, there have been other drills, but this time someone pressed the wrong button, and the message exploded. It was at the time of a shift change. Someone may have gotten distracted. A few minutes later, a tweet went out cancelling the alert. At the time of this writing, we've yet to hear of the far-reaching consequences of this OOPS! moment.
A missile's trip from North Korea to Hawaii would take about 20 minutes. That set me to thinking, If I had 20 minutes to live, 20 minutes before I and everyone within miles of me would be vaporized, 20 minutes before my faith in Jesus Christ would become sight, as I suddenly saw Him Face to face, what would I do?
I would hope I wouldn't panic. Testimony from other Christians who have received a death sentence or a close call, say, from a cancer diagnosis, help to inform me about that. God often imparts an almost supernatural peace. (Search this blog to find the entries of a series I wrote a few years ago entitled The Gospel According Joe. "Joe," a friend of mine, is now with the Lord.)
So what would I do? Call people I love and express to them the depth of my love? They already know it. I have no problem telling folks that I love them. It comes naturally because God first loved me and tells or shows me so all of the time.
The first thing I'd do is call one person. He says he's an atheist. He wants nothing to do with God. He's convinced that those who follow Christ are mentally unstable. If someone tries to discuss spiritual issues, he mutters and walks away. He's cold to the Gospel.
I'd prayerfully try to contact him, praying that he'd answer his cell phone and actually listen to me--praying that, before the missile hit, my friend would repent and accept Christ. If any time remained, I'd go looking for others to tell. It would be a crisis witness, with no time to be gentle, no time to establish a relationship.
That's what I believe I would do. I wouldn't worry a whole lot about offending people in those moments. I would simply speak Truth quickly.
What would you do with that 20 minutes?