The American Disaster, part I
January 18 05
It is easy to get caught up in the Asia tsunami because there are so many compelling stories; there are so many people involved in the tragedy; there has been nothing like it in our lifetime. But what about the disasters here in America in the last few months?
Some Muslim imams in Asia have been saying that the tsunami was their god's warning call. These imams have said that too many Muslims have wandered from the faith and Allah is calling them back to the mosques.
Here in America, perhaps Christians should take note. Muslims call on their own brethren to get right with their god. Here in America, it is the tendency of Christians to blame disasters on those outside the Church. When things go wrong in America, we like to blame those "sinners" out there who are in rebellion to God.
The Bible indicates, however, that God will send storms (of many different types, not just natural disasters) when we need to be disciplined. Sometimes, the storm is intended to get us back on the right path; sometimes the storm comes to "prove" our faith and mature us. In either case, though, the storm is intended for the believer just as much, if not more so, than for the non-believer.
Sometimes God uses natural disasters to bring correction to believers and sometimes He uses them to bring unbelievers to the end of themselves that they might see Him. Again, in either case, blame cannot be placed on "the other guy." Any time God allows a storm to affect our lives, we should be looking at ourselves, not our neighbors. The storms should cause Christians to take a look at our walk with God, to make sure we really are on the right path and then make right choices according to the will of God and not our emotions.
As Christians, we have the responsibility of being salt and light to the world. We are to preach the Gospel to all people. We are to reach out and help our neighbor in practical ways. Jesus defined love as an action. He gave the parable of the Good Samaritan in which the Samaritan helped the man in the ditch. The Samaritan could have stopped and said, "God bless you," and then walked on. Is that love?
As Christians, we have the responsibility to worship God in spirit and truth. That means everything we do should bring honor and glory to God. Everything we do, whether in word or deed, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That means that all that we do should be done according to God's will for His glory.
Are we doing that in America? We call ourselves a Christian nation, but I wonder...does God see it that way? Can He look at us and see that all that we do, all that we involve ourselves in, brings glory and honor to Him? Not even close. We say the right things, but we do the opposite. Sure that's going to happen because we are sinners only saved by His grace, but the real question is whether or not we want to change. The question is, when we do wrong, are we repentant? Do we want the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and bring conviction?
So, when we are faced with one of the worst years of natural disasters in America in our lifetime, what is our response? We say, "Well, it's the end times. These things are going to get worse and worse." Yes, I agree completely. But have you ever wondered why God spoke such a thing through His prophets? Are these disasters coming simply as a sign of the times; that is, are they upon us simply because the end times are upon us? Rather, it may be that our actions have become so depraved that God has to wind up time. Jesus said that the last days just before His coming would be as the days of Noah. In the days of Noah, there was nothing but evil in the hearts of people and their actions were just as bad. So, God wiped out all but eight people.
Today, we know we are living in the last days because we see the signs. But do we take heed, or do we just blame the sinners outside the Church? We were created to worship God in spirit and truth. We were set apart for that purpose and in being set apart we have become salt and light. But when we stop worshiping in spirit and truth, we are no longer salt and light. Either we preach the Gospel but are recognized by the world as the hypocrites we are, or we just don't preach the Gospel at all because our hearts are far from God. So then, as our nation is ravaged by one disaster after another, who is drawing close to God? Who is listening? Who is heeding the warnings?
Sometimes God allows storms in our lives as individuals. Sometimes God brings storms on churches because He wants them to pay attention. Sometimes God allows large disasters to cripple nations because He wants the larger Church to wake up and stop paying Him lip service. And sometimes God brings devastation to nations in response to what those nations have done in relation to Israel.