Giving Thanks for Florence, Mitch, and Katrina
Natural disasters are not what we typically give thanks to God for in our prayers. Still, we are to give thanks in all things (1 Thess 5:18). So what do war, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes and other disasters have in them that warrants our gratitude?
First, He who sits on the throne of God taught His followers that we should not be troubled by these things (Mt 24:6). They have always existed since the fall of creation, and they will intensify as the end of the world draws near. The reason God’s people are not disturbed by fearful sights and waves roaring (Lk 21:11, 25), is that our sovereign God sits in the heavens (Ps 115:3; 135:6), and all the distress of nations is from Him.
Second, when we see these things we can thank God for His just wrath against the nations. No one is excluded from these troubles, which are called, “birth pangs.” When a woman is great with child, and the contractions begin, there is an increasing anticipation for the coming birth of a baby. God is preparing to bring forth a new heavens and a new earth (Is 65–66; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21–22), but the beginning of this is painful labor.
Third, the troubles in the world are a stark reminder of the temporary nature of our home upon the earth. Men make investments in this world, and they buy insurance to protect their capital. Storing up treasure on the earth is vanity from eternity’s perspective, but people are not deterred. They want the world, and they want more of the world. The rich believe they can manage the risk of losing what they have accumulated, making a more sure future for themselves. But God said, “You fool, this night your soul is required of you (Lk 12:20).”
Men forget that calamity is a sovereign act of God’s providence, and His visits are far more precise than most wish to acknowledge. One nation curses its fellow nation, blaming it for doing nothing to stop climate change. Thus, man goes to war with his neighbor over his short-sighted assessment. Their war produces famine, which leads to pestilence (plagues and disease on a large scale). Death cheers them on at every stage, claiming, “Business is good!”
Under the inspiration of the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4), men will source the trouble in the world to anything, and everything, except God’s righteous judgment against humanity (Rom 1:18). Got pandemic?
While the world cleans up the mess from the last disaster, and buys more insurance, in anticipation of the next disaster, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is preaching Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2), His resurrection, and His coming again for the final judgment (Mt 24:14).
The distractions caused by disasters keeps the reprobate busy with their plans to fix the world. There is so much to do in preparing for disasters in diverse locales, and of course, there is even more to do after disaster strikes. This is a fourth reason for the Christian church to give thanks. If the world was not at war with itself, or cleaning up, it would quickly set its sights on the persecution of the church. Therefore, give thanks for Andrew…the hurricane!
The false prophet proclaims peace but there is no peace. Thank God! For peace is coming to the nations, and there are already rumors of those who can control the weather. When the man of lawlessness appears (2 Thess 2), he will be an angel of light, like his inspiration (2 Cor 11:4). Men will bow down to him as the savior of the world…or he will kill them. Peace will arrive under his mighty power. That will be a bad day for the church, but a sure sign the end is very near.
God’s elect people have suffered in this world from Abel to Isaac; to Elijah; to Christ Jesus; to the apostles; to the martyrs in this New Testament age. In the world, Christian, you will have trouble, but our suffering in this present evil age is not to be compared to the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18). Suffering is sure, and the false prophets of the secret rapture are just fooling many.
Each day is one day closer to our Lord’s return in judgment and glory. The earth is already shaking in fear of His coming. Men are in denial, and they are busy trying to save the world themselves, or just make the world a better place. Christian, we do not hinder those who are trying to do good, but God sees their heart motive, and His hatred and wrath is revealed against humanity (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5; Rom 1:18).
Therefore, let us redeem the time, using what freedom we have in this hostile world, to bear witness of our glorious Lord (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15; Acts 1:8). Tonight’s news will report today’s judgments, but the prince of the power of the air will not give credit where credit is due, for the current wars and natural disasters. As for me and my house, we have a number of reasons, in the incessant climate of calamity, to give thanks. For it is right to give our God thanks and praise. His plan for this world like a hurricane, plague, or pandemic is right on target.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 3, 2021