What we thought about...



23rd September, 2005

Seeing God articles
Faith & Reason articles
Bible Teachings articles

God and the hurricane

Folks along the US Gulf barely had time to gather their wits after Hurricane Katrina's savage onslaught than they were again preparing for another potentially catastrophic storm, this time to be delivered by Katrina's little sister. The world has been shocked at yet another spectacle of massive destruction delivered by “Mother Nature”.

Of course, those who have been preaching the anti-gospel of global warming have responded with variations on the theme of, “See, we told you so”. One can only hope that the US government will begin to take this critical issue seriously, at last. Others have rightly pontificated on some shocking realities brought into sharp focus by Katrina — the gap between rich and poor in the world's richest nation, the speed with which people who pride themselves on the superiority of their “civilization” can become decidedly uncivilized under duress, the lack of preparedness of rescue agencies, the vulnerability of big cities, and so on.

Some religious folk have canvassed their conviction that God brought this evil on New Orleans for the depravity of its citizens. Maybe they are right, but if they are, it's a matter of lucky guessing; not a single human being sits at God's right hand and knows what He is doing. But one double-sided lesson can be gleaned with confidence; we human beings are so weak, so utterly impotent; God's power knows no limits. Individuals could not stop their homes being flooded and the most powerful military force in the world could not even deflect a hurricane from its course let alone erect a protective shield against it.

Some years ago I lived in Huntington, West Virginia. This city sits on the edge of a geological system in which an ancient plateau has been eroded into a matrix of flat-topped hills intersected by thousands of valleys, called "hollers"

(hollows) by the locals, formed over time by thousands of streams. One summer terrible fires raked the area; thick smoke filled all the valleys and sat there for days, playing havoc with the health and comfort of all the residents. I remember how unpleasant it was even in Huntington. By about the third day I could feel myself almost unraveling — you just couldn't get a big lungful of pure air. Had the US president of the day issued an order to the army to spare no expense to get the smoke out of them thar hills, they could have done nothing about it.

The odd thing about us human beings is that we think we can do anything when in reality we are so utterly impotent. Yet in our pride we will not bow the knee to Him who called into being the powers of nature before which we stand so helpless. Hurricane Katrina was like a candle on the sun compared with the power that God has at His disposal. He truly can do anything He wants. Thousands of years ago God taught Job the lesson that we should learn from Hurricane Katrina:

Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, and array yourself with glory and beauty. Disperse the rage of your wrath; look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together, bind their faces in hidden darkness. Then I will also confess to you That your own right hand can save you (Job 40:9-13).

Job could not take away the sores that robbed him of his previous glory, could not humble the proud, and certainly could not produce thunder from his Adam's apple. Will mankind ever learn? Thankfully, the answer to that is “yes”. One day.


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