|Storms, earthquakes, destruction ... and finding a reason to believe in God|
Storms, earthquakes, destruction ... and finding a reason to believe in God
Published By Times Herald
We are living in tough times. People are crippled with anxiety and stress levels are at the breaking point. Water is seeping through neglected cracks, and the pressure is about to push through the dam and destroy the town below. An alarming rate of disasters and conflicts have many people looking upward. Where is God?
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche claimed "God is dead," but trillions of stars hanging in the heavens would protest. The environmental system we live in is perfectly suited for life. A big bang fails to explain how we got here and offers no valid reason for all the suffering in the world. Furthermore, a godless philosophy offers us absolutely no hope for the future.
Men and women scoff at the Bible when they ask, "Where is your God?" If He is compassionate and mighty to save, as Christians believe Him to be, than He should expose every form of evil, and punish those that inflict it upon the world, right? Surely God can control the Earth's insatiable desire to rise up in the form of storms and earthquakes, can't He? Where is God when a beautiful child is dying of cancer? Many claim that this evidence demonstrates that there is no God, or that He does not want to be bothered? Maybe He simply lacks the power to help.
A record-setting earthquake and tsunami left Japan more devastated than Godzilla could have imagined. We are all familiar with the destruction, but we cannot truly appreciate the inner turmoil, fear and hopelessness that many Nihonjin are currently experiencing. When the Earth rocked and the mighty waves swept countless souls out to sea, the obvious question is, "Why, God?"
The Bible teaches that God has an overriding purpose for everything He does. He desires to make the name and glory of Christ known among people of every nation, tribe and tongue. The Lord is busy working out His plan to mercifully reconcile sinners to Himself, people that want nothing to do with Him.
To that end, God may humble a man or nation by sending catastrophe, leading to individual or national repentance. Other times He will judge one or the other for mocking His sovereign rule and Jesus as the only means to salvation. Christians understand that a third reason God will send trials is to strengthen their character while testing their faith in Him. God spoke, "I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things" (Isaiah 45:6,7).
The Biblical God is a King and the heavens are His domain. He governs a seemingly infinite universe with wisdom that is unsurpassed, while sustaining every last molecule. He tells every lightening bolt where to go and the earth quakes at His command. While He installs leaders or blesses nations, He can also bring them down to further His cause. The Bible gives no indication that God is ashamed of the way He handles earthly affairs. In fact the Bible describes the Lord as incredibly raw in power, an unstoppable, immutable being that is to be feared.
On the other hand, He is the gentle Shepherd that makes anxious souls to lie down in green pastures and leads them beside still waters. God is concerned about our souls. This is why Jesus made an open invitation when He said, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). The apostle Peter wrote to encourage persecuted believers, "Cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Will men boast that they possess a free will, choose to sin against their Creator, and then blame Him for the consequences? God will not be ignored or held accountable when we behave in a way that brings destruction into our homes and communities. Having said that, God uses all things, even our selfishness, to display His power and love through Christ.
Everyone will encounter storms in life. Certainly there are many who are currently surviving tsunamis of their own while struggling to keep their heads above water. God will not forsake those that call on Jesus to rescue them from sin and guilt. He will even save those that have mocked Him all their lives. Where is God in the midst of storm? He is above it and works through it. He is the fortress that we can take shelter in, or the flood that will bury us in our disbelief and rebellion.
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