I sat in unbelief as Fox News reported about the death of Jeff Bush, a 36-year-old who was asleep in his Seffner, Florida, house on March 1st when a sinkhole opened up and swallowed him. The instability of the site was so dangerous that the sinkhole became his tomb, as workers could not retrieve him. Family was distraught and in disbelief.
What a tragic, unexpected circumstance! You lie down not knowing that you will not arise in the morning. You are taken in such dramatic fashion. Along with my feelings of sympathy for a grief-stricken family, my mind went to a couple of biblical accounts. I thought of Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their households, swallowed up by the earth in Numbers 16. The difference in that instance is that, incredibly, the earth closed over them. But, whether miraculously or naturally, such events clearly demonstrate the unmatched power of God. Then, I thought of Jesus’ words about the Galileans killed by Pilate and the eighteen people killed by the tower of Siloam in Luke 13. That passage would implicitly say that, even in Mr. Bush was a depraved, wicked sinner, he was in no worse a condition than anyone who needs to repent (3,5).
But, I suppose the thing that dominated my thoughts most of all was how fragile life can be and how unexpectedly death can come. Some day, Judgment will come. Scripture describes that instantaneous moment as coming in the blink of an eye, as a thief in the night (cf. 1 Th. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:52). Whether in our lifetime or not, one day many on earth will be awakened from sleep by the second coming. In that moment, it will have to be an utter and final realization for the lost that it is too late. For the impenitent and unbaptized or for the unfaithful Christian, they may call out but to no avail. They will have made their decision (cf. 2 Th. 1:7-9).
I cannot imagine too many things on earth more unexpected than waking up to one’s end like Mr. Bush. However, I can think of at least one thing which has yet to occur. Let us make sure we are ready for it!