I had always assumed that a nuclear attack was not survivable. It appears I was wrong.
It's hard to imagine a more horrible scenario than that of a nuclear detonation. According to the White House's Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation, by-standers miles away would witness a 100-mph fireball shooting five miles into the sky. Sun-surface heat, hyper-explosive pressures and 900-mph winds would level buildings for half a mile. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people would vanish in smoke and flame. Fallout would rain down for hundreds of miles.
How does anyone survive such devastation? Somehow, Tsutomu Yamaguchi did – twice! On August 6, 1945, Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima, Japan on a business trip. At 8:15 in the morning, a U.S. bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the city, which killed 140,000 people. Yamaguchi, face and arms burned, hearing damaged, and suffering temporary blindness, somehow lived. The next day Yamaguchi traveled to his home town, 190 miles away. His home city was Nagasaki. If you know your history you're aware that on August 9th, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing some 70,000 people. Once again, however, Yamaguchi was not one of them.
Yamaguchi wasn't the only one to survive. Although 210,000 died in the bombing, some 260,000 people actually survived the blasts. But how?
On July 8, 2010, leaders of a dozen state, local and federal agencies took part in a simulated L.A County security exercise code-named Operation Golden Phoenix. One of the things they learned from the exercise was that a big-city nuke attack is a survivable event. It all comes down to shelter.
Without any shelter for 24 hours, 285,000 caught in an L.A. blast would develop radiation sickness or die. Just getting into a wood-frame house could save 160,000 people. Shelter in place - that's the single biggest message. Radioactive fallout, which is the greatest danger, passes in six to 24 hour's. And since you can't outrun radioactive fallout, find shelter and remain there.
When you think about it, there are many other types of fallout in life. There's a marriage that has imploded, and there is the fallout of angry words and distrust. There's a loss that has broadsided you followed by the fallout of grief and regret. There's a friendship that has blown apart and the fallout of confusion is falling all around you. Your son or daughter has made decisions that have shattered your heart and the fallout of perceived failure on your part is showering down upon you. What's a person to do? Take shelter.
Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! (Ps 61:4)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1)
It's comforting to know that the God of the universe has revealed Himself as a shelter.
It's impossible to eliminate fallout while living in a broken creation, however, there is a well-proven shelter we can run to – our Triune God. Remember – you can't outrun the fallout, so find shelter and remain there.