SPIRITUAL TRUTH ABOUT NATURAL TRAGEDY
JEREMIAH 10:10-16 EZEKAIL 13:13-14
A BIG PROBLEM
I was recently in India and Nepal preaching and training pastors. Our team of ten learned that a significant number of our students could not make it to the Institutes and meetings due to massive flooding and landslides in the region.
Within the past month the world including the United States has faced indescribable natural disasters including flooding, massive storms, fires, and earthquakes. Many people, including Christians are asking why? Did God do this or did He allow it?
Insurance companies call these events “acts of God.” This is the phrase given to events that lie outside of man’s control. Man couldn’t start it and man couldn’t stop it. So we must find out, what acting is God doing?
SOME BASIC PRINCIPLES
The Bible is clear that natural disasters are not simply random and impersonal acts of nature.
God does it! What happens He causes. (Job 37:3-13; Isaiah 45:7). He causes the wind to blow, the earth to quake, and the waters to flow. So God is responsible for the good days and for the bad days.
He always has a purpose. God does not do anything without a purpose. Mother Nature must answer to Father God. God is not capricious. Then how do we reconcile natural disasters with a good God?
To discover the answer read Romans 8:20-22.
He doesn’t want to do it – He hates to do it and does it reluctantly.(Lam.3:31-33)
A parent will say to a child, “This hurts me more than it hurts you, I hate to do it but it is for your good.” So why tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and floods? (Jeremiah 10:10-16) We are the created who does not always understand the acts of our Creator but we can depend on Him to do what is right and good.
SOME BIBLICAL PURPOSES
My wife tells me my favorite word is “why.” That seems to be a favorite question of most of us. Here are a few Biblical reasons for natural disasters.
To punish idolatry. Idolatry is anything that takes the place of God.
God may be saying “let’s see your prosperity, power, politics, pleasure, prestige, playing games . . .get you out of this. If your stuff can’t save you, maybe your stuff shouldn’t be your god.” God is saying to us, “repent.”
To overcome wickedness. In America we are a nation that has moved away from God. Can you not hear God saying to us, “you abort your future in your abortion clinics, you kick me out of your public schools, you remove My commandments from your public places, you reject creation and intelligent design in favor of the big bang and the monkey idea, you replace the beauty of marriage with perversion, and you continue to say, ‘in your face God’ “.
You continue to sing “God bless America.” When is America going to bless God?
To rebuke greed and selfishness.
I have just returned from Israel. They still can’t find Sodom and Gomorrah. Most think those cities are under the Sea of Galilee. They were destroyed with a natural disaster, an act of God – fire and brimstone. Many teachers will tell you the cause was homosexuality. No that was only secondary. Ezekiel 16:48-50 tells us it was because these cities did not take care of the poor and needy. So perhaps what we call political corruption that deprives the populace of basic needs the same sin of the ancient cities. Our corrupt and greedy politicians continue to rob the peoples of the nation and the world to fill their own pockets.
To Awaken the Church.
When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, it brought devastation of property and great loss of life. Looking back, everyone realizes that it was because the levees were inadequate to hold back the flood waters. The water could not be controlled by broken pumps. According to Scripture, the Church is to be the Restrainer against evil in much the same way that the levees were to restrain the flood. But the church is unable to change the culture and cannot even change itself.
It seems that it takes a tragic disaster to awaken the church to respond to the needs of people and get involved in meeting human need. Natural tragedies give the church its greatest opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and compassion.
But there is still a question on the floor, WHY? We see these tragedies as unfair when people lose their lives and so many of them appear to be innocent. We must realize His is infinite and we are finite and may not understand why this side of eternity.
A BOLD PROMISE AND PROVISION
When you are really sick, you throw up. It is messy but you feel better. It is hard for a pregnant woman to suffer labor pains, but it means something better is about to happen. Time and time again, I have seen people who have suffered from floods, fire, storms, earthquakes emerge with a stronger and better life. God made us a promise . . .
I want to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13.
God promised to restore what the locusts have eaten. Our family has found that to be true.
I There are some things we will never understand this side of Glory.
Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 11:33; Lamentations 3:31-33
II We have no right to question His Truth and the sovereign works of God.
III Worldly Wisdom is Inadequate. Amos 4:12-13
IV Such tragedies give opportunity for the heathen to respond to Jesus. The goodness of God leads to repentance.
V Natural disasters encourages believers to rejoice in our sure and certain foundation. Hebrews 12:27-28; Romans 8:28
VI Natural tragedies provides the opportunity for lavish, gracious, magnanimous, generous and sacrificial giving on the part of the Christian community. II Cor 8-9
VII Acts of Nature (especially earthquakes) remind us of the imminent return of Jesus Christ for His church. Matthew 24:7
VIII These natural events are a call to repentance. Luke 13:1-5
Remember, God is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise