How Safe Is Your Family From A Powerful, Violent Superstorm?
Imagine you’re away on an extended trip, several miles away from home.
You turn on CNN and learn about a killer storm approaching your city or town.
As you monitor the news, weather experts are saying this will be unprecedented in size, power and destructiveness.
You immediately call your family and coach them on what to do to prepare.
You wish you could just jump on an airplane and be with them, but you can’t. All you can do is pray.
You can hardly sleep. You keep calling for any updates. Then you give more instructions.
Finally, the hour comes when the storm makes landfall. It was everything the weather experts described, and more.
As you talk with your loved ones, they describe what they’re seeing outside the window…
Metal roofs flying. Window glass shattering. Trees falling. Water rising!
Then, all of a sudden, the line goes dead. You lose contact. You try to call, over and over again.
Did They Survive?
The scenario above is not hypothetical. It really happened here in the Philippines almost five years ago.
Haiyan (Yolanda) struck with deadly ferocity. You probably already know that. It was everywhere in the news.
According to a December 29, 2013 report by the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Haiyan killed 6,155 people and injured 28,626 more. Another 1,785 were still reportedly missing.
According to a BBC article, as much as 11 million people have been affected. Many of these have been left homeless.
My youngest sister and her husband lived 50 kilometers south of Tacloban, a city of 220,000 people, devastated by the violent superstorm. I know a number of people from Leyte who have been affected. (I will tell you more about them in a minute.)
Is typhoon Haiyan going to be the last superstorm? Hardly.
Weather experts are saying that the recent super-typhoon may just be a “harbinger of worse to come.”
For instance, Adam Sobel, an atmosphere scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said:
The frequency of typhoons will not necessarily increase with warmer oceans. But what we do think will happen is that the typhoons we have will get stronger. And so the chance of getting a really powerful one like Haiyan, which is extremely powerful, is reasonably likely to increase.
So how do you protect yourself? How safe is your family from a killer storm like Haiyan?
Why Being Rich Won’t Matter In A Disaster
I wish I could tell you that the way to survive and avoid suffering is to build a dome-like structure for your house. Or stockpile a lot of cash or food. Or build a shelter. But when the storm hits, it doesn’t really matter how rich or how “important” you are.
In Neal H. Cruz’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on January 2, 2014, he wrote:
Last year’s Super-typhoon “Yolanda” was a great equalizer.
It leveled the houses of the rich and the poor alike; it played no favorites. But the rich suffered more than the poor.
One important lesson is that without electricity the rich are helpless. All their labor-saving devices — washing machines, refrigerators, television sets, radios, rice cookers, air conditioners, electric fans, etc. — become useless without electricity.
Not only that, during Yolanda most of them were blown away along with the houses. And those that were not, the storm surge soaked them; and had there been electricity they would have short-circuited and would have electrocuted their owners.
The rich homeowners had money, but there was nothing to buy. The stores and warehouses had been looted. Even when they could buy rice from the looters, they could not cook them. Their electric stoves were useless without electricity. So when the canned food ran out, the rich had nothing to eat.
You Cannot Save Yourself From Nature’s Fury
There is only one sure way to survive a powerful, violent superstorm like this:
God’s protection. He is the only true refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4).
Let me share with you three short, inspiring but verifiable accounts of how God miraculously saved His people.
What’s Up With The Second Floor?
I just talked with Mr. Jose Campos, a minister of the United Church of God in Leyte. He told me that on November 7, 2013, the day before Haiyan made landfall, he evacuated his family to the second floor of a three-floor concrete building where he worked as the civil registrar of MacArthur town, 50 kilometers south of Tacloban, Leyte.
At first, some did not want to evacuate with him, saying they would just do it the next day. However, Mr. Campos persuaded them to do so, and his decision proved correct as the storm made landfall early Friday morning (November 8), around 4 am.
What happened was nothing short of a miracle. During the height of the typhoon, the glass doors and windows of the first floor shattered. Then the glass on the third floor shattered also. The whole building was shaking and vibrating in the powerful wind. But all throughout Haiyan’s fury, the second floor glass windows and doors did not break. Now, how did this happen, when the second floor is between two floors that were very badly damaged?
Does Water Always Seek Its Own Level?
Mr. Raul Villacote was another minister of the United Church of God in Leyte. He lived in Barangay San Jose, just a few minutes from the Tacloban airport, which was the area hardest hit by the typhoon. All the homes in the area were flooded with water at least 10 feet deep, well over the heads of many people. As a result, many drowned. However, in Mr. Villacote’s home, water rose only three feet high. Many since visited his house and saw the water mark on his house, and saw the 7-foot difference. This simply defies the laws of physics that states that water seeks its own level. Apparently, God is not bound by the laws of physics.
The Only Book That’s Truly Waterproof
Reuel Campos, Mr. Jose Campos’ son, shared the story of how his parents’ two-storey house was damaged by the typhoon. The whole second floor was literally “gone with the wind.” All his books and documents were completely soaked and drenched in the pouring rain. That is, except one book. The Bible. Amazingly, all the Bibles were completely dry! Until now, I still can’t get over this. To me, this is another astonishing miracle. It reminds me of a verse in the Psalms:
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, you shall preserve them from this generation forever (Psalms 12:6–7, NKJV).
Hearing these three miracles (among many others) inspires me so much. It reminds us that there is a living God who rules the universe and has the power to work miracles in behalf of His people.
Here’s How Your Family Can Be Protected
We live in a world full of danger. Every day we live is a risk. There are natural disasters, there is crime, war, terrorism, disease epidemics, etc. The list goes on. These will all intensify to a climax before God the Father sends His Son, Jesus the Christ, back to this earth to bring peace and prosperity in the wonderful Kingdom of God.
In the meantime, we all live in Satan’s world. He is the god of this age. These powerful, violent superstorms are just some of the natural disasters that are part of the prophesied events to happen before the second coming of Jesus Christ in power and great glory. Many people are suffering and dying right now. Oh, how much we need the Kingdom of God to come soon!
How can you and your family be protected? Not by our own human efforts. Sure, we need to be wise and do our part, but we can only do so much physically. We need to turn to God in real repentance and faith. We need to develop a real, growing relationship with Him. We need to teach our children to fear God and keep His commandments. We need to know and obey His will by studying His commands as written in the only indestructible Book in the world, the Bible.
Yes, hearing and obeying the words of Jesus Christ will keep our “house” standing firm through the rain, winds, and floods (Matthew 7:24–27). God has promised His divine protection to those who revere and obey Him (Psalms 91). When we are in God’s care, there is truly nothing to fear.
I’m truly awed and grateful to God for the miracles He did to protect His people. Yet, my heart grieves for the thousands who died in the superstorm (including the innocent babies and children). Those who perished aren’t necessarily any worse sinners than the rest who survived.
God loves and remembers every single one of those who died. They may be missing to the Red Cross, but they are not missing to Him.
He knows exactly where they are, and He has a plan to resurrect them in a better world, when all natural disasters will have come to an end. There is hope for those many thousands, and the millions and billions who are dying everyday in various ways.
Our loving and all-powerful God in heaven is not the author of suffering and death. In fact, He is coming back very soon, to put a stop to all injustice, evil, pain, suffering and death once and for all.
Call To Action
Want to grow a little wiser, every single day? I’ll soon be launching a website called “The Best Life Club,” where I share stories of inspiration and faith, as well as the latest insights and the best resources on personal development.