Stone through the window (excerpt from the new book)
In 1953 a warning was issued in the Netherlands province Zeeland. A heavy storm was approaching from the northwest. Together with the coming spring tide, it threatened to become a great danger because of flooding. The circumstances deteriorated visibly. The disaster increased. How did the local mayors react to this grave situation?
The mayor of Oude-Tonge had attended a celebration the previous evening and then went to bed early. The mayor of Dreischor was not at home. He had his regular bridge evening. When he finally came home at 1:00 A.M., he could not be persuaded to do anything. The mayor of Kruiningen thought that they should remain calm. “There will be panic if we wake up the whole village at this hour.”
Cor van der Hooft, mayor of Willemstad (Zuid-Holland), had a very different opinion. He realized there was no time to lose and gave the order to evacuate the entire polder. Even when the others remarked, “Tomorrow everyone will laugh at you,” he could not be dissuaded from his plan. “Perhaps,” he replied, “but I won’t be responsible for people drowning because we didn’t warn them.”
The border guards were told to warn the polder inhabitants. Less than an hour later they returned to the community center and called out in desperation, “Mr. Mayor, no one wants to leave the house. They just stay in bed. They are convinced that the flood won’t be so serious!”
Mayor van der Hooft was furious: “Go back, throw stones through the window if you have to, and call out: ‘Flee …! The water is rising, fast, the dikes can’t hold it any more… flee!’ Make a lot of noise so they realize it’s dramatic.”
In Zeeland more than 1,800 people drowned during the night. In Willemstad, Cor van der Hooft’s town, not one. (Original title: Steen door de ruit, Bart Repko 2011 Jerusalem)
In my opinion this true story vividly illustrates the situation in which the world in general and the church in particular now find themselves. Therefore the following lines should be understood as a kind of “storm warning”. We are facing severe to very severe storms. At stake is nothing more or less than our life, not only here on earth, but also in eternity. And just like Mayor van der Hooft, we throw stones into living rooms, churches so that we finally wake up, are alarmed, assess our situation honestly and realistically, and act accordingly.
May we understand that it is now not just a small group of people who are in danger, but everyone. However, we are not primarily waiting for a “flood”, we ultimately await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with deepest longing and anticipation. As unique and indescribable as this event will be, it will then also be just as clearly and irreversibly too late for repentance. That is why Jesus now calls us to repentance, conversion and salvation. Please listen to His voice and accept His saving invitation today.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.