Ask Pastor Adrienne column: We are not being punished
Q: Dear Pastor,
Why is God allowing all these natural disasters to come upon us?
A: When a storm in the Gulf of Mexico suddenly turns deadly, we are quick to say, “Why, God?” No doubt there are folks in the middle of that situation thinking the same thing right now. It is human nature to want to blame someone or make sense of the thing that has occurred. However, the question God taught me to ask him in the face of catastrophe is not “Why me” it is “What now?” None of us escapes a pain-free life. “For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 4:45, NASB).
God gets blamed for all kinds of problems and disasters that are not his fault. He put our earth in orbit and commanded our light and heat source to rise each day. God then decided there would be rain for our water supply and wind to cool and dry us from the damp. These are all blessings from the Lord which illustrate his love for his creation and for our prosperity on earth. Yet because the whole earth was crippled when Adam and Eve sinned and betrayed God on that fateful day, things are upset. Off-kilter and damaged.
Instantly, the earth began to die when sin arrived. People, too. Weather patterns changed. Strife and trial were introduced. No, God isn’t sending deadly hurricanes and raging forest fires to punish us. The fact that we now have advanced warnings to flee to safety and preemptive rescues to prevent loss of life shows us that God’s hand protects hundreds of thousands while the earth and skies heave forth their natural responses. Water represents cleansing in the Bible. Fire is purification and refinement. God has a plan to use these situations for good, no matter how bad it looks. Restoration, cleansing and new beginnings are already planned as outcomes by the God who loves all people equally.
Blaming God for nature’s responses is theology in error. Assuming these communities in the paths of destruction are experiencing God’s wrath is arrogant and religiously presumptuous. Natural disasters present the proof of an earth in compound decay; an unfortunate and deadly collision of the fall of man and the imminent return of Christ. “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Luke 21:10, 11).
Some people say a hurricane is obviously the result of global warming. Perhaps. The cause of a damaged atmosphere is certainly the fault of mankind (our sin) as I’ve illustrated above. Sadly, an environmental thing so clearly explained in scripture has now been politicized. Our planet has been damaged since human beings left the Garden of Eden, yet special interest groups insist they invented the idea of a broken earth; pointing fingers at people, corporations and countries they believe to be the cause. While Hurricane Laura has stilled us yet again; subject to the natural elements no matter how well we prepare, countless Americans are on their knees in intercession or packing supplies of vital necessities for transport to the hurting. We are never helpless or without activities toward a solution. God is always working. He does his best work through people.
Knowing Christ is trusting him implicitly even when we don’t understand what’s happening or why. We must avoid assuming we have the answers. This is what we know: “[God is] compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6). When we allow God to be God ... deciding our fates and outcomes while trusting in his goodness in spite of what we see...we instantly begin to partner with his plan. The true Christian will say, “thy will be done” and remain steadfast. The servant of God will kneel, pray and petition God’s mercy against the evil schemes of destruction. The son or daughter of God will wield their authority in the Kingdom to stand in a rocky boat and declare, “peace be still” (Mark 4:39). Let us take action and make a difference in the power of Christ.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information, please visit www.adriennewgreene.com or tune into the “Ask Pastor Adrienne” YouTube channel.