Why are there so many natural disasters?
|Irma devastated the island of St Marten. CNN photo|
I posted the other day in my essay "Is it the Birth Pangs?" that natural disasters have always been with us. One perspective I had offered was from a John MacArthur sermon. Dr MacArthur had said in his sermon Supernatural Lessons from a Natural Disaster,
We live in a society unlike any in the past, a world of electronic media, a world of mass communication, a world of overexposure to relentless visual images and enhancements. We see everything and we see it constantly. In fact, we're not isolated from anything that happens anywhere in the world
Every catastrophe, every calamity, every cataclysm, every disaster, every tragedy everywhere eventually comes to us through the media and we vicariously experience all the pain and sorrow and suffering and death...It's true. I know that when I hunch in front of my laptop and watch in real time Houston flooding from Hurricane Harvey and then a few days later watch the news eagle eyed because Hurricane Irma is predicted to pass over my own area, my mind and heart gets beleaguered. The flood surges, drowned animals, missing elderly, lost homes, evacuations...are all so terrible. It's difficult to comprehend the significance. And we do look for significance. Why is there so much disaster in the world?
In that previous essay I wrote that the pangs have been appearing for 2000 years, since Jesus ascended. and that this is just the beginning. (Matthew 24:8). Earthquakes, floods, death, and disasters have always happened, since after the time of Genesis 3. Do you know why? The curse. Sin. The earth groans under it.
I'd focused on the curse from Genesis 3.
Here is another reason why, perhaps, there are disasters like hurricanes in the world:
The scene is Jonah 1. The ship is underway. Jonah is rebelling, and the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, which tossed the ship. (Jonah 1:4). In this sermon called Running Away from God's Will, John MacArthur explained
Well, they were praying, and none of their prayers were doing any good, and they figured they ought to get Jonah in on it. Verse 7, "And they said every one to his fellow, 'Come, let us cast lots, throw dice, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.' So they threw the dice and God controlled the dice, and the lot fell on Jonah," and it was Jonah. Isn't it interesting that sin here causes a ...a natural disaster? You know, I really believe that, as we look around our world, we see all the earthquakes and so forth and so on that are going on. You know, there's a...a percentage of earthquakes today that's greater than at any other time in history, and I think it follows right along with the mystery of iniquity unfolding toward the coming of Christ, because natural disaster follows in conjunction with sin.
Now, if you go back to 2 Chronicles, for example, chapter 7, I think it is, verse 13. "If I shut up heaven that there is no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among the people, if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear...hear from heaven forgive their sin and will...what?...heal their land."
You see, God responds to sin with very often natural disaster; and so God brought a storm in response to the sin of the prophet Jonah.In other words, sin again. The creation is cursed and groaning, and the humans are sinners causing drama and disaster.
All this should point us to the Day, the time when Jesus renews the earth and the heavens, and no curse will ever exist. No disaster will ever befall any glorified human or holy angel. No howling rainstorm will flood, only fresh dew will spring from the ground. No screeching wind, but only soft breezes to ruffle the hair and kiss the leaves. No trees toppling, only stately cedars standing strong, giving shade to us and homes for birds of the air.
The Lord is grace itself, His mighty voice upholds the heavens. Some day, the heavens will be fresh and perfect, and no curse of disaster shall ever trouble us again.