Last week, we began a series entitled “Are Hurricanes and Natural Disasters God’s Judgment on a Nation?” I wrote about how God occasionally talks to us through some natural events, but not every natural event. When God sparingly uses extremes like natural disasters, it’s in reaction to something. It’s not God’s first choice. It’s mostly God’s last choice. It’s the exception, not the rule of thumb. It should not define God. God is good.
Let’s explore some biblically and naturally correct reasons why there are natural disasters.
Sometimes natural disasters are naturally caused disasters. Think of it. If you live in a known hurricane zone like Florida or Puerto Rico, there will be both big and small hurricanes. Why? You live in a hurricane zone. All hurricanes are not created equal. The same is true for earthquakes. If you live in the Ring of Fire, there will be earthquakes and volcano eruptions. It’s the design of the earth. The risk came with your choice.
Sometimes natural disasters could be the natural consequences of not stewarding the earth in a wise way. Many are convinced environmental issues are causing storms, temperature change, etc. They attribute everything to man causing this. God gave the first humans the responsibility of stewardship of the earth. Lower emissions and less pollution is a good thing. That’s good stewardship.
However, stewarding the earth and worshipping the earth are two different things. There have always been strong and weak cycles of weather, plagues, and the like. It’s an error to attribute every natural disaster to either man or God, all the time.
Sometimes God uses storms and natural disasters to get the attention of us preoccupied humans. The prophet Amos speaks of this when he says that sometimes, in response to human self- absorption and destructive choices, God withholds rain, destroyed crops with locusts, blight and mildew, allowed plagues and even initiated wars as judgment. (Amos 4:7-13).
Occasionally, God shakes the earth so humans will turn away from their idols and fear the Lord (Isaiah 2:19, 20). God also released a huge storm in the sea to cause the prophet Jonah to turn back to his assignment (Jonah 1: 4). Jeremiah (23:19) says the “storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.”
Sometimes natural disasters and storms could even be demonic in nature. We read in the account of the suffering of Job that God allowed Satan to induce natural disasters such as a storm to bring destruction on human life (Job 1:18, 19). We also see how the Lord Jesus rebuked a storm at the sea, showing the storm was not from God and was a likely a demonic attempt to stop Jesus from going to the other side of the lake (read Mark 4:35-41).
There is always a morally good reason when God occasionally allows storms and other phenomena. As bad as storms and hurricanes are, there may be a morally just reason why God allows them to take place – for reasons that have nothing to do with Judgment. When a Category 5 storm hit Australia more than a decade ago, it replenished the nation’s water supply that was experiencing a drought for more than ten years. The big picture is the Aussie’s had to endure the hurricane to get the rain which was desperately needed, whether it was orchestrated by God or not.
Biblically speaking, there is a whole lot of groaning going on. Perhaps you noticed we have been looking at symptoms rather than the cause? If you want God’s take on the root cause of all the groaning, here it is.
The Bible tells us in Romans (8:19-23) that all creation is groaning since and because of the fall of man. The result is we live in a world where creation is groaning with more and more intensity (vs. 22) and humankind is groaning (vs. 23). The good news is the Holy Spirit is groaning for people’s redemption too. (vs. 26)
Jesus came not only to redeem humanity but restore the created order (Colossians 1: 20). And, believe it or not, the church is going to be a major player in this. How? When the church (the body of Christ) grows up to the point where she looks like Christ to all the world.
So, there you have it. It’s hard to write in a middle ground way. Why? If you stand in the middle of the road, you will get hit from both sides. Ouch! I resemble that!
Ed Delph Part 2 September 25, 2017 CCC