Summary: Where is God in the midst of tragedies?
God is Sovereign in Disasters
God has Purpose for Disasters
God Loves Us in Disasters
How Should we Respond?
For the Christian
Respond with Repentance
Respond by Living for Christ
For the Seeker
Respond by Receiving Christ
Over these past 2 weeks, I have seen on the news with many of you, the devastation that Hurricane Katrina has caused in Louisiana and Mississippi. The devastation has been unbelievable, with entire towns being wiped out completely and an entire city of about 500,000 people having to be completely evacuated and is uninhabitable for the near future.
That is something that many of us probably never thought we would see in our lifetime.
We also remember what occurred on this day 4 years ago. Terrorists flying planes into buildings in what remains one of the worst terrorist acts this country has ever experienced.
Tsunami in Malaysia
Couple that with the Tsunami that his Malaysia just after Christmas last year and it causes us to take a step back and say
What is going on here?
Why is this happening?
Where is God in all of this?
How could a loving God permit these things?
Does this mean that there is not a loving God?
And if not, then
Who is in control?
These are some of the questions that I want to try and answer and give possible reasons for.
One of the jobs of a pastor is to teach.
We are to teach the Word and relate it to our lives and show how it applies to us.
But we are also to teach about life and how we should view life in light of the Scriptures.
And that is what I want to do today. As we ask these questions, I want us to see how we can possibly view these events that have occurred in light of Scripture and then see how we should respond to the things going on.
I want to begin by reading you a passage out of Joel.
You can begin turning there. It is on page 644 of pew Bibles.
Joel was a prophet. And He wrote during a time when Israel had a disaster, namely, a locust plague. Listen to what He writes.
Joel 1:1-4 (p. 644)
1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel.
2 Hear this, you elders;
listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
or in the days of your forefathers?
3 Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
4 What the locust swarm has left
the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
other locusts have eaten.
10 The fields are ruined,
the ground is dried up;
the grain is destroyed,
the new wine is dried up,
the oil fails.
11 Despair, you farmers,
wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12 The vine is dried up
and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree-
all the trees of the field-are dried up.
Surely the joy of mankind
is withered away.
You may be saying, yeah what is the big deal about a few locusts.
We had an entire city wiped out and much of the coast of 2 states.
Listen to what one commentator writes about the devastation of Locust Plagues.
In our generation areas having the potential for a locust outbreak are monitored by international agencies using satellite reconnaissance and other technology; incipient swarms are met by aircraft and trucks carrying powerful pesticides. However, if the locusts are not destroyed or contained shortly after the hatch, once the swarm has formed, control efforts are minimally effective even today. For example, in 1988 the civil war in Chad prevented international cooperation in attacking the hatch, and a destructive swarm spread throughout North Africa devastating some of the poorest nations and threatening Europe as well. It is difficult for modern Western people to appreciate the dire threat represented by a locust plague in earlier periods. Such outbreaks had serious consequences for the health and mortality of an affected population and for a region’s economy. Scarcity of food resulting from the swarm’s attack would bring the population to subsistence intake or less, would make the spread of disease among a weakened populace easier, would eliminate any trade from surplus food products, and would stimulate high inflation in the costs of food products. Disease outbreaks are further aggravated when swarms die; the putrefaction of the millions of locust bodies breeds typhus and other diseases that spread to humans and animals