Summary: Is Katrina one way that God is cleansing the Earth of sin? Is it more important to make these assumptions, or to get out and help the displaced saints and draw the displaced lost ones to Christ?
In the Bible, we read this passage: "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (I Kings 19:11-12 KJV)
In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, we saw devastation that was horrible. For the New Orleans area, the images witnessed in person caused some to be ill. In the initial shelters there, crime was rampant. Vigilante justice was the only law for a time.
After seeing video and hearing the news reports from national feeds, some church folk were saying in so many words that this was the hand of God. That New Orleans was a present day “Sodom and Gomorrah.” Statements like, “It’s all in God’s great plan.” I had thoughts like this too. But after some prayer and hearing other preachers’ opinions on this subject, I have a new perception.
Please understand that I am well aware of the great evil in the New Orleans area. That city seems to be ridden with evil and some even spit in the face of God. The French Quarter and some of the Central Business District is unsafe most of the day and all night. It’s even been called “Sin City” and “The Big Easy” because illicit drugs, sex outside of marriage, black market weapons, porn, etc. are easy to come by in that area.
But we need to remember that when Abraham was “bargaining” with God for the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, he couldn’t even find ten righteous there.(Gen 18:32) I heard a host of a Christian radio station say last week he personally knew more than ten people who are righteous in the New Orleans area. Also, if God is using weather systems to cleanse the land, what about areas like Franklin, La, the entire state of Florida, the Mississippi and Alabama gulf coasts, the Carolinas that were all hit hard by hurricanes in the past few years. What about large portions of the United States frozen solid in January, 1998 and millions without power for weeks.
QUESTION: Is this all God’s plan? ANSWER, Part 1: God has a plan, but 2 Peter 3:9 says, “He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God’s plan was originally that we would live in a perfect world. He created man with a will. And man chose sin rather than perfect fellowship with God. Now until Christ comes back, we have to make the decision to daily fellowship with God in a world that is far from perfect.
God can and will take this catastrophe and turn the bad into good for His people.
ANSWER, Part 2: Yes, God is sovereign, but I don’t believe He sends weather systems to clean up the sinful people of the Earth. People make choices. Some choose to live a life of crime and have a lifestyle that shortens their life. Their own “running buddies” sometimes kill them. They shoot huge doses of drugs into their veins and go for days without sleep. These are only a few examples of the way people shorten their lives.
God set certain weather systems in place and this world is decaying and the Earth is groaning for His return. I believe catastrophes, murders, horrible acts against people, and many other bad things will occur more frequently as we get closer to the last day. Until that day, we need to live as if He is coming today, and use the good sense that God gave us to protect ourselves from weather systems to the best of our ability and preserve our precious belongings but not worship anything or anyone but God through Christ.
Closing comments: It’s good that we are aware of places where sin is concentrated. We just need to be careful that we don’t get too proud and make the same mistakes that the Pharisees and the Sadducees made in Christ’s day. Instead of making harsh statements, let’s reach out to those who survive and offer some hope and give them all that we can to help them on their way to a fresh start. In the meantime, we can draw those lost souls to Christ and help the ones who are saved to start fresh.
Invitation: We can protect our home and all that is precious to us with insurance, but do you have soul insurance? The only way to get that is to ask forgiveness for your sins and repent. Then you will have everlasting life. Would you do that now? Just pray, Jesus, I know I’m a sinner and I ask forgiveness as only you can give. I need you to help me turn from sin and serve you. Please come into my heart and change my life forever. Amen