Tornadoes, Drought, Fire, And Death

Some years ago, a handful of Christians infamously claimed that hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment on New Orleans, or later that the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti was His judgment on the culture of voodoo and the occult practiced there in times passed.

But what about events in Mid-America such as violent tornadoes? That would be the area of the US famously known as the Bible Belt. A number of years ago, spring tornadoes, numbering more than a hundred strong, tore through Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, over to Nebraska and Missouri, and up into Indiana, killing and destroying.

Not to be outdone, wildfires devastated Colorado, and drought consumed crops throughout the Great Plains and over to the Appalachians. In fact, the USA Today reported that 64% of the US was experiencing drought conditions.

And of course there are the shootings that have become all to common in all parts of the US.

All this, of course, comes to mind because of the horrific fires currently devastating Australia.

In the after-math of the natural disasters, news cameras often catch survivors picking through the ruins, thankful that they lived and vowing to keep going. Some way. Some how.

After shootings, there’s talk of the gun culture and insane people trying to grab the spotlight so that the world will look at them for a few fleeting days. Undoubtedly gun legislation again comes under discussion.

All of it is white noise to the real issues that we need to talk about. God works in the world today, as He has throughout history. Because we understand and can predict weather patterns does not mean God has no part in them. Because a psychotic killer picked up a gun and attacked a theater full of people does not mean God is indifferent or uninvolved.

These events remind me so much of the things Job experienced, all engineered by Satan, but permitted by God, used by God. Why do we think He has changed?

No, He did not cause shooters to open fire on unsuspecting victims. That’s an act of evil, and God doesn’t tempt anyone to do evil (see James 1:13). But He works His will in and through these circumstances. And He does so in order that we will look to Him rather than to our own supposed strength and goodness.

God allows fires and floods and wind and drought so that we can see we are weak, not strong. He allows evil men to kill and steal and destroy so that we will see, Mankind is not good.

Only God is strong. Only God is good.

When will we look to Him instead of looking to ourselves for answers?

We are so much like Israel of old. They were a religious people, keeping their feast days, offering sacrifices in their holy cities, and God said, I’m not interested. Instead He brought war and famine so that they would turn to Him.

Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened,
And proclaim freewill offerings, make them known.
For so you love to do, you sons of Israel,”
Declares the Lord GOD.

“But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places,
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

“Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you
While there were still three months until harvest.
Then I would send rain on one city
And on another city I would not send rain;
One part would be rained on,
While the part not rained on would dry up.
So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water,
But would not be satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

“I smote you with scorching wind and mildew;
And the caterpillar was devouring
Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

“I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt;
I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses,
And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

“I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD. (Amos 4:5-11 – emphasis mine)

Are we somehow beyond God’s reach, that He would not be at our shoulder, calling to us, telling us we need to return to Him? Are we so oblivious to our egregious behavior, putting to death thousands and thousands of unborn babies year after year; calling evil good and good, evil; giving credence to false prophets who lie about God and His character, that we think God is pleased with us and will continue to bless us as a nation?

What will it take for us to realize, God might be trying to get our attention because He wants us to look at Him, listen to Him, bow before Him, and recognize that He is God and we are not.

This post is a revised version of one that appeared here in July, 2012.

11 Comments

  1. What will it take for us to realize, God might be trying to get our attention because He wants us to look at Him,

    He’s omnipotent , omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    How hard could it be for such a deity to communicate directly ?

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    • Actually he has communicated directly. What do you think having His Son come to earth was all about? God communicating directly! There’s way more, but the idea that He doesn’t communicate directly shrivels in light of Jesus coming as a human being.

      Becky

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      • Are you saying Jesus was Yahweh’s son of that he was Yahweh?

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        • Jesus is God. It’s one of the hardest things to understand that Christians believe. He came as a man but He didn’t stop being God. So He is God, the Son as opposed to God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. BUT, God is one, not three. Got it? Well, if you do, you’re ahead of most of us. It is one of the things that is true about God that is beyond our comprehension.

          Becky

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          • In other words you donpt actually understand it and certainly not to be able to explain it coherently.

            This is one of the reasons for Nicea.

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          • I would be foolish to say that I “actually” understand it. I’m sorry you don’t find my efforts “coherent.” I’m telling you what God disclosed in His word: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers, through the prophets . . . , in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature . . . through whom He made the world.” In addition, all throughout the Old and New Testaments, God refers to Himself as One. And the only One.

            This is clearly not an easy concept to accept because we know of nothing like it. How can God be One and yet manifest as three? It raises all kinds of questions. But for someone who believes the Bible to be true and authoritative, it comes down to choosing to believe what is beyond our knowledge. Not so hard when you come to understand that God made something like DNA and had it function for centuries before humans ever knew it existed. Or the multitudinous stars. There are several places where God uses a couple analogies as if they are synonymous: the grains of sand and the stars. For years no one could understand how they were in the same ball park. Stars were limited in number and sand was seemingly infinite, or so people thought. Now we can see how accurate the analogy is.

            God and His way, His person, His thinking, is simply beyond us.

            Becky

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          • The Trinity is a church construct, evidenced by the fact there are non Trinitarian Christians – such as the Christadelphians.

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          • No, Ark. The idea of the Trinity is not something that came from the mind of some human. Who would think up something so hard to grasp, so difficult to accept? What reasonable person would think it a good idea to manufacture something that would make Christianity look impossibly difficult?

            I’ve already given you a portion of one passage of Scripture, but there are many, many more. Not the least of which is what Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” The Jews understood His claim which is why they charged Him with blasphemy.

            He also told His followers that He came to show us the Father. Nobody but God Himself can show us God. That would be like me saying, I’ll show you the King of England (well, Queen at the present). I can’t do that. I don’t have a clue what it’s like to be King (or Queen). To be in a position of that nature, you’d have to be royalty.

            So, some (like the Mormons) say, Jesus was one of the gods. But again the Bible, Old and New Testament, is clear that God is an exclusive agent, above all, beyond all.

            If you put all the details together, the idea of a triune Deity is the only thing that makes sense and allows for all those statements to be true. Things that identify God the Father as the creator but also Jesus as the creator. That sort of thing.

            Becky

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          • The please explain why there are several Christian sects that are non Trinitarian, such as the Christadelphians?

            It was a church doctrine constructed in part to to stave off the so- called heresy of Arianism.
            I suggest you learn a little more about the history of your religion.

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  2. Disasters are certainly a wake-up call. I had been trying to explain to someone why God speaks to us through pain, and he kept asking “But why PAIN?”
    Then one day he came up to me and said, “I know why God uses pain to get our attention.”
    “Why?” I asked.
    He was not at all happy about it, but he quietly responded, “Because it works.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so good, seeking. Thanks for sharing that. Certainly when things are going good, we aren’t pushed to find help for life. Only when we are hurting does it even make sense to search for someone to make sense of it all, to rescue us from the mess, to point us in the right direction.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person


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