Devastating floods swept through our lives with awesome, angry, destructive power. High hopes for a Happy New Year were swept away in the catastrophe. 2011 could be part of history for all the wrong reasons. To add to the crisis, bushfires in West Australia also caused chaos and sorrow.
Why does God allow these things to happen? How is an all-powerful, Almighty God powerless or distant from the suffering inflicted on innocent people? These are appropriate questions.
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the key. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1: 16-17)
That final phrase ‘in Him all things hold together’ should raise eyebrows. Raging floodwaters sweeping through homes, thrusting away buildings and cars, destroying lives and property suggest a fearful force cut loose rather than being held together. We add to the problem by designating natural disasters to be ‘acts of God.’ The fact is we live in a world of absolutes. Fire burns, waters drown and germs cause disease.
The universe was spoken into existence by the word of God but He created the world to respond to natural cause and effect. There are laws to life for the earth and all creation.
Because of disobedience we live in a fallen world. When Adam disobeyed God’s wisdom there were profound consequences. God told Adam, ‘curse be the ground because of you.” He warned of ‘thorns and thistles.’ (See Genesis 3: 17-19)
Many would like to ignore the ultimate divine authority. The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to swear on the Bible when she swore her oath of office. Her gesture suggested she could protect and govern Australia without divine support.
We have terms like ‘my home is my castle.’ We want to live as if God does not exist, but the world we live in, is fragile and subject to decay.
Life for all of us and for people who are made in the image of God comes from Him. But because we chose to go another way, creation is subject to ‘slavery to corruption.’ Its freedom or salvation comes from a right relationship with the Creator.
Romans 8:19-21 “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
The phrase ‘the creation was subjected to futility’ is interesting. The Greek word translated ‘futility’ is ‘mataioteti” which can also mean ‘frailty.’
The Bible also teaches that we are made perfect through suffering.
Jesus came to earth and suffered for our sakes. He has promised to return and make ‘all things new.’
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Rev 21: 4)
We have the opportunity during these tragic events to show the love of God to those who grieve and those who are in distress.
I do not share the propensity to play the blame game right now.
Romans 3:23 says ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Today our prayers and our support must reach out to those who need comfort and encouragement.
I am reminded of Colossians 1: 27 which reads ‘God willed to make known what is the riches of His glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’
Today Christians have the opportunity to show the love of the Lord to a nation is distress. Be thoughtful, practical and caring.
“Love your neighbour as yourself.” We could be part of a flood of faith which could bring the Good News into tough times.