What would you do if you had only fifteen minutes to respond to a tidal wave of destruction?
Sunday, December 26, 2004, at 7:58 AM (00:58 UTC), deep below the Indian Ocean, the earth convulsed. At 8:30 AM, the Indonesian province of Aceh was hit by waves that in some places were as high as 115 feet. Result: 170,000 people dead.
Those waking up in the south of Thailand by 9:30 AM were enjoying breakfast and beginning to play on the beaches at Phuket, Khao, Lak, and Phi Phi. Another 54,000 dead.
Thirty minutes later, in Sri Lanka, the waters pounded the coast. 31,000 dead. In India, 16,400 dead. In total, over 230,000 people were dead or missing. The tsunami came the morning after Christmas.
Though the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii registered the earthquake, there would be only fifteen minutes before the first strike. It’s not enough time for a cup of coffee.
The dangers were there all along. The epicenter of the quake is in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” known for its seismic activity. Few expected an underground earthquake over 9.0 on the Richter scale. Few would have anticipated the resulting tsunami. Few would have known what a tsunami was.
Incredibly, as some observed the tide mysteriously retreat from the shoreline, they ventured out on the dry ocean bed. What could have caused such a phenomenon? Within minutes, they were dead. When the tide goes out, the tsunami comes in.
Similarly, the warning signs have been here all along deep beneath our cultural oceans, not just of our own country, but throughout the world. From time to time the “Ring of Fire” belches its lava under the mounting pressure of mankind’s sins.
Signs of the impending eruption have been there all along. Millennia ago, there was Babel with its famous Tower of arrogance, where mankind desired to enter heaven on its own terms.
After Babel, century after century, empire after empire, war after war, mounting pressures of sin spewed the lava of destruction-- scorching and polluting not just our planet, but poisoning societies and cultures with injustice, greed, perverse immoralities, and ultimately murdering the image of God in Creation.
The warning signs have been there for millennia, only now, something is different. For the first time since Babel, we are globalized with the potential of a worldwide meltdown.
To catalog the legal indictments against mankind's perversities and destructions would take far longer than the fifteen minutes we have.
Genesis 11 recalls the failed attempt at Babel. When Satan previously encountered Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3), the greatest temptation was not the goodness and delight of the forbidden fruit, but that it would make her wise like Daddy— “you will be like God, knowing good from evil” (Genesis 3:5) She ate. Adam ate. Result: 107 billion dead. 
At Babel, the same story played out but with a different script. We fell for it once again. “Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4). Once more, we thought we would be like God.
When the Lord came to confuse the languages and scatter the people, He had one overriding concern: “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6).
Putting God's central concern another way, if mankind becomes a globalized entity, there would be no limit to the evil we would produce. We are now a globalized world for the first time since Babel, and it would be hardly an exaggeration to say that evil has exponentially increased, whether referring to the violence, greed, war, or religious hostility with its resulting decapitations, terror, sexual slavery, cultural tyranny, and war.
Humans have a marvelous capacity for good, creativity, invention, productivity, cultural beauty, and scientific discovery. The good is a byproduct of being made in the image of God. The problem is that at the core, we are not sick or cancerous. We are already dead, cut off from God, alienated and rebellious. The problem, in short, is sin.
What makes our time unique is that we are globalized— in culture and communication, economics and trade, politics, and technology. We even have Google Translate to help remove the language barriers. We’ve removed the barriers, but kept the Tower of sin.
In times of global distress, often caused by wars or pandemics, there is no shortage of “end of the world” prophets. The Bible is clear that no one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return (Matthew 24:36). No one knows the last moment when time runs out.
THE DOCTOR IS IN, BUT THE HOSPITAL IS CLOSED
No one born knows the exact time of death. But we do know when we are sick. We know when we run a fever when our bodies ache and our stomachs convulse. We know when we are sick— SOMETIMES— because there are times when cancer sits hidden, waiting to announce its presence at the most destructive moment.
Sin brings death. It also brings spiritual blindness. Unlike physical blindness that readily manifests itself, spiritual blindness remains hidden in the shadows of our minds and hearts. Its pernicious nature is such that we are not only blind to our dead moral condition, but we actually think we are well.
Jesus came to give life, to call the dead awake. He came to heal and to save. The Doctor is in. He came to remove the spiritual blindness to turn us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
But, the church often revels in the darkness, preferring to return to Egypt rather than to face the walk of faith through life's desert of Sinai. We are alive, but we prefer death. We see but prefer blindness. We carry the Cross around our necks, but not on our backs.
We are sick, thinking we are well and as such offer little hope to those dead in their sins. The doctor may be in, but the hospital is closed. The church needs revival, a breath of renewed life. Only then can we fulfill the Great Commission that sets the captives free from sin and death.
FIFTEEN MINUTES… PRAY!
The tide is out. The signs are present. The earth is shaking. The tsunami is coming. What can we do in fifteen minutes? What can we do in the urgency of the time when it feels like all we can do is run and hide? The solution has been there as long as the problem— PRAY!
It’s not a formula for revival. Prayer is an expression of humility that precedes revival. It is a realization that we cannot achieve the mission, cannot direct the vision, cannot move the needles of success. God does it all. He invites us into the process when we humble ourselves in repentant obedience by faith.
Fifteen minutes sounds like no time at all to save the world, but in reality, it’s all the time in the world.
It’s time. Now is the time for the church to awaken. Now is the time to bow humbly before our God. Now is the time for our hearts to pulse with the life-giving blood of Jesus. Now is the time for the power of the gospel to be unleashed. Now is the time to shake the very gates of hell to set the captives free. Now is the time to PRAY!
The tsunami is coming. We have fifteen minutes...
 Estimates of how many people have been born on earth as of 2011 come from “Population Reference Bureau” (link / accessed 03-10-2022). We cannot vouch for their calculations but give or take tens of billions, that's still a lot of people.