Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not the type to blame Hurricane Katrina on the sins of any particular group of people. I don’t go speaking for God whenever there is some calamity. “This is God’s punishment for…” You get the picture.
If some hurricane in some far away city is God’s punishment for sin, then we better be ready in our own cities.
That’s the reason why I’m writing this.
Not every tragedy is God’s punishment for something. But sometimes it is. And if we’ve ever done anything in this country to deserve God’s punishment, it is the killing of babies. I don’t know if disaster will strike us anytime soon. I haven’t received a special word from the Lord. All I know is that if God does decide to punish this country, he has every right to do so.
When something bad happens, skeptics like to use it as ammo against Christians.
Where was your good and loving and all powerful God when that daycare caught on fire and all of those kids died?
Where was your holy God when that hurricane wiped out the lower half of Mississippi?
So is your God weak or did he just not care enough to stop that terrorist attack?
Be ready for questions like those when disaster strikes. Be ready to ask a few questions of your own.
Where was your sense of justice for small children when Planned Parenthood was delivering them alive and pulling out their brains?
Were you just too busy or did you just not care that millions of babies were put to death in this country while our leaders threw compliments and money at Planned Parenthood?
I pray for God to have mercy on us. But at the same time, I know that he is a just God. He is not apathetic or passive to the murder of people he created in his image. He has punished nations, even his own chosen nation, for sins before. We would be naive to believe that ours will be any different.
God destroyed Sodom and Gommorrah for their sins (Genesis 19:23-29).
It was the sins of God’s own people that caused them to lose the land that he had given to them and to live instead as slaves in a foreign land (Daniel 1:1-7).
Much later, God allowed Jerusalem, the holy city, to fall again.
God didn’t do these things because he has a short temper or because he is evil. He did them because he hates sin. And, contrary to public opinion, hatred of evil and love for what is good do go together. If you don’t believe me, watch how a loving mother acts when she sees an adult assault her small child. Are you prepared to call her unloving for pouring out her wrath on the man who is hurting her child?
The next time disaster strikes, there will be many who use it as an opportunity to chip away at God’s love, power and goodness. In reality, it could be that the disaster is simply his display of all three things, namely his love for the people he created in his image, his power over evil and his goodness to those who obey and love him.
The real disaster has already struck. For some 50 years now in this country, we have sanctioned the sacrifice of children to the gods of sex, comfort, money and power. That’s the disaster. If God chooses to shower our cities with sulfur and fire, he will be just in doing so.
Maybe he will do it while you read this.
Or maybe his mercy and patience will last even longer than it already has.
But we must be careful. While God’s holiness, goodness and love are limitless, his mercy and his patience are not. They do run out. And before they do, we must pay attention to the words of Jesus.
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)
Those are our options.
I pray that, before the next disaster strikes, our leaders would follow the example of the King of Nineveh.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” Jonah 3:6-9 (ESV)
God may have mercy on us so that we do not perish.
Or he may just send disaster our way.
If he does, and you are tempted to wonder why, look no further than the remains of the babies we have sacrificed to our false gods.