It's Coming!


A tent affected by the storm

We had finally arrived in the Fredericton region of New Brunswick. Our vacation had officially begun!

We were visiting our first official tourist attraction, King's Landing Historical Settlement, when we first met him, "doomsday man". We had been immensely enjoying this quaint recreation of rural life in 19th century New Brunswick. It was like stepping back in time and seeing with our own eyes the history of the region. It had been a hot and humid day, and to our delight, there was not a cloud on the horizon. It seemed that the first few days of our vacation would be hosted in by wonderful weather!

But just as we were glorying in our good fortune, "doomsday man" stepped up and introduced himself to us. He was dressed as a friendly guard, but his prediction of thunderstorms and heavy wind was NOT what we wanted to hear! Rain is NEVER welcome on vacation, but even less so when you are camping!

We didn't know whether or not to believe him. After all, where were the cumulonimbus clouds (we had to thank our kids for supplying us with the correct scientific terms!) that would bring in such a storm? The sky was perfectly clear for miles around!

But when we voiced these concerns to "doomsday man", he simply responded with: "You'll see. It's coming."

We decided to ignore his ominous prediction and trust our senses instead. We went on with our day, enjoying every minute of it, and before dark, we had set up camp in a lovely campground just outside of Fredericton.

Our "neighbors" in the campsite next to ours decided to take a riverboat down the St. John River later that evening. Around nine o'clock, one of them thought she saw a streak of lightening in the distance. "We'd better get back to camp," she suggested. "There's a storm brewing."

"Storm?" was the credulous reply from her husband. "There isn't a cloud in the sky! You must be dreaming."

"It's coming," she instead. "You'll see!"

Back at our campsite, my family and I had turned in early and we were sound asleep when, around 11:00 p.m., our neighbors in the campsite behind us moved in. It didn't take long for the constant, loud banging of their van doors to wake us all up, and for the next hour, we were the "lucky" recipients of their "setting up camp" noise. Just when we thought that they had finally settled in for the night, their teenage son started to yell at the top of his lungs: "Stop yelling at me, mom! You're always yelling at me! Just leave me alone!" Now, prior to this statement, one that was loud enough to have been heard throughout the entire campground, we hadn't heard a word from his mother. This quickly changed, however, and for the next few minutes, a typical teenager/mother fight served to wake up anyone who hadn't been woken up by the son's initial accusation!

This argument could have well gone on for hours if it hadn't been interrupted by a loud clap of thunder, sudden gusts of wind and pounding rain. We were instantly all up, zipping the windows closed, fastening down the ceiling vent, and pushing up the window cover in the door. Our tent trailer began to sway in the wind and the next clap of thunder took out our electricity.

Our noisy, late-coming neighbors soon found themselves chasing their tent, that had decided to go for a stroll with its newfound friend, the wind, and drenched to the bone, their argument ceased.

Our next-door neighbors didn't fair much better. The weight of the rainwater on the top of their tent, coupled with the heavy wind, caused their tent roof to cave in. The adults had still been up, and though they tried manfully, their attempts to maintain their tent's integrity were completely unsuccessful. The poles blew out and the roof collapsed. Seconds later, all of their belongings were drenched. They ran for their car, and there they shivered with their 4-year-old daughter, under a single, meager towel, for the remainder of the night.

The doomsday thunderstorm that had seemed so impossible had, indeed, arrived, and with a vengeance, and it took all of us campers completely by surprise. The warning had been duly given and ignored; our senses had deceived us.

Another kind of storm was announced centuries ago, but most of humanity has decided to ignore this one as well. Those who warn others about it are considered to be doomsday prophets. "How could it be possibly?" Is the most common response. "Ridiculous. Use your senses man! No way, you're way off!"

But our reaction doesn't change the facts. The storm IS still coming! Nothing can stop it.

"You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief." (1 Thess 5:2-4 NIV)

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." (2 Peter 3:10 NIV)

Will you be caught by surprise or will you be ready?

Rob Chaffart

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