Monday, March 01, 2010

Why All the Disasters?

Unless you have been totally isolated in some dark part of the world, or have been held hostage and kept away from all forms of media, or have been in a coma, you know that recently there have been unimaginable natural disasters in the world. The latest of these is to the south of us, in Chile. We have a little first-hand information about that, because one lady who is from Chile is in our home. She was to have returned the night the 8.8 earthquake hit. Now she is a refugee, separated from all her family (all safe, they live well north of Concepcion). With the intermittent communication systems the lady has been able to talk to her family; she has even had to Skype video chats for about 5 minutes each. Each time she comes downstairs our friend tells us another story that her family relays to her about the earthquake.

We all know that this one did not compare with the death and mayhem in Haiti. But it was at least 500 times stronger than the earthquake that destroyed so much in Haiti.

My question may be yours? Why is all this happening? The scientists have given us their answer. The tectonic plates pushed and shifted, creating undue stress that was relieved by the seismic activity. I would be the last to argue that. Anyone who does would be trying to restrain the wind. I think, however, there is another answer that is more profound--though it may not appear to be so in the eyes of some.

A little-noticed verse in Romans 8 teaches us that all creation groans, waiting for redemption. Meditate on that for a moment. When Adam and Eve sinned, setting in motion the curse of sin, it was not just on mankind. The earth was cursed, too. That which was once perfect was now imperfect. That which was called "good" in Genesis 1, is now described as "groaning" in Romans 8.

That original sin had far-reaching consequences. Trees began to grow deformed. Thorns sprang up. Eventually, God placed fear in the animals, because he had given them to us for food (I cannot imagine being a vegetarian, but everyone was at one time).

Your sin and mine also have consequences. I don't know how far-reaching it may be; I think that depends on the sin. But they do have consequences. I believe when nations rebel, there are consequences. When we violate God's moral law, there are consequences. Does this rebellion merit natural disasters of gargantuan proportions? I am not God; I won't answer that here. Further, God did not "tell" me that they did. But I suspect that it should be considered in the realm of probabilities.

Those who find it difficult to believe that God might consider using natural disasters to get our attention are often those who find it difficult to believe that God will punish any sin for anyone. If God tolerates sin, then God is not holy. Then the Bible is a lie. Then Jesus died for nothing. But God is holy. His word is true. Jesus died to deliver both us and this creation that groans more and more.

In light of the horrendous calamity we have witnessed, we should do two things. One, pray for those in the throes of the calamity. Two, consider ourselves, because we are no better than they.

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