Summary: Why do natural disasters happen? Has God lost control?
God Of Hurricanes
· We have all gazed on recent pictures and scenes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and also the Tsunami of December 2004, and many of us have asked searching questions about what we have seen.
· Has God lost control, could this happen here? where does this leave my faith in God?
· The first thing I will say is that when we see these weather phenomena happening we as Christians should actually not be surprised, because Jesus Himself said that it would happen
Luke 21: 25-28
· Of course, knowing that Jesus predicted it does not make it any easier to live through it, but what it should do is give us a sense that these events are not a haphazard happening, but that they are a planned and calculated unfolding of God’s great plan.
· It is all unfolding in God’s time and according to His purposes.
· What I will do today is answer 4 questions: Firstly a simple scientific question, what is a hurricane? Then we’ll ask: are they a new phenomenon, why does God allow them and what can we learn from all this.
1. What is a Hurricane?
· Hurricanes are known by 3 names: Hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons – they are all the same thing, just in different parts of the world
· They always form between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and only when areas of the sea surface rise to around 26 deg. C
· Because these regions are really hot, the sun causes water to evaporate from the sea, so that the air becomes full of water and warmth, and the warmer the air, the more water it holds
· So we get these huge areas of clouds filled with huge amounts of water.
· The turning of the earth actually causes the spinning motion of these massive heavy clouds
· Because the air is warm it is rising and forcing cooler air down ward, so creating this spinning mass of rapidly moving air, moving as fats as 200 mph or 320 kph
· In the middle, where all the cooler air is pushed down, like water running out of a bath, a hole is formed, called the eye of the hurricane, where the winds are much calmer. The eye is usually between 14 and 25 miles in diameter.
· Hurricanes have a lifespan of anything between 5 and 10 days
2. Are they a new Phenomenon?
· No – in fact powerful storms and winds are often mentioned in the Bible
· Look at what happened to the Apostle Paul when he was in a boat:
Acts 27: 13-20
· The story goes on to describe how Paul and the others on board were left clinging to planks in the sea before washing up on an island after the storm had raged for nearly 2 weeks.
3. Why does God allow them?
· It is true that these events of late have caused many, even believers, to question God’s goodness.
· It probably isn’t fair then that these things are called ‘acts of God’, when no-one gives God credit for the many years of beautiful weather one can experience in between such disasters
· To fully understand why God allows these things we have to understand something of the nature of God.
· God created everything, including the weather, and the weather patterns that give us the seasons.
· When God created the world He made everything according to a pattern, and it was all in order.
· We learned earlier this year about God’s laws of order and agreement, and we learned that when everything works in agreement with everything else, everything runs smoothly and peacefully
· We experience that on a beautiful summers day when the sun is just right and the wind is gentle
· The weather was made to compliment and assist life on earth – coolness, shade, warmth etc
· When man chose to exclude God from his life, in came disorder and suddenly everything was not harmonious anymore – man had to now work the soil to get it to yield anything, and the weather patterns became harsh and could have devastating effect – just loom at the flood in Noah’s time.
· Does that mean that all natural disasters are God’s judgement? – No! But some certainly are – Deut 11: 17 tells us that God can cause the weather to do things that bring punishment.
· Usually what we experience are simply the weather patterns that exist as a result of sin
· Now you say ‘oh come on, how can man’s sin effect the weather?’ Well, the answer is that we have no idea how great the effect is of shutting God out of our lives and sinning.