Saturday, March 12, 2011

When Nature Groans

We're horrified by the multiple, natural disasters that hit Japan yesterday. We can't yet comprehend the devastation, death and long-term effects on that nation and many others as a result. Our minds reel to come up with a reason.

For this and so many natural eruptions in our world recently we want an answer. We want to assure ourselves that we are safe. Often, as Christians, we'd like to say that it's God's judgment on an ungodly nation. But can we say the United States is godly? Hardly.

It reminds me of something Jesus said when asked why certain people died in a tragic accident. They were really asking Jesus what those people did to deserve such a death. Jesus explained that they were asking the wrong question. They should've been asking why the tower hadn't fallen on them.

Today I'm thinking of the natural disasters that have been in the news in the last few years. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes. These have happened all over the globe not missing our own nation.

Today I read a verse written by Daniel centuries ago describing his people and circumstances. See if it doesn't ring true with us today.

". . .all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth."
Daniel 9:13

We are all sinners. We all deserve God's wrath. But God loves all people and is not willing that any perish, according to the Bible (2 Peter 3:9). He is patient toward us, waiting for us to turn to Him in repentance. If we do, He has already made the way to give us forgiveness--Jesus, the One who took our death-sentence and then rose victoriously to life again.

Natural disasters can bring our attention to God. What better time to seek Him in prayer and evaluate our own lives. But it is for all of us. It is not for us to judge another nation or group of people. And it is not for us to expect that we will not suffer similar disasters.

We're told in the Bible that nature (creation) groans. That's what I keep thinking about when I hear the news. The earth is groaning. Here in Romans 8 we see the weight of sin causing man and nature to groan under its curse. But here we also see the hope waiting for us just ahead.

Let us pray for those suffering from the earth's groaning and let us examine ourselves, looking forward to the hope we have in Christ.

Romans 8:18-25:
   18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
   19For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
   20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
   21that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
   22For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
   23And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
   24For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
   25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

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