“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places” (Matthew 24:7).
The “Arab spring”: the overthrow of existing powers in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, with pressure placed on governments in Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria.
The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010; the big Japanese earthquake and tsunami this year; and now, in the space of a few days, earthquakes in Colorado, Virginia, and Peru.
A major hurricane heading toward the Northeast.
Meanwhile, many other places are experiencing too little or too much rain.
A lot of people are probably wondering: what does it all mean? Is this the beginning of the end? There seems to be no end to the predictions people make about the impending doom that we are all facing. These types of events seem to “prove” what is being said.
The fact of the matter, however, is that what we are seeing has been going on for thousands of years. Major earthquakes strike the world every year: most just happen under water where they do not get as much notice. The same is true with major hurricanes: most end up going out to sea. Nations and governments come and go.
Perhaps what is different today is just how sheltered most of us are from calamity. Most of what we hear happens on the other side of the world; most of our ancestors would never know what was happening over there. Yet they had enough difficulties with high mortality rates, oppression by their own governments, constant war, famines, plagues, and a host of other ills.
Therefore, there is no special reason to believe that the types of events going on today are any different than events that have been going on for thousands of years. The Scriptures are clear that calamities of this sort are just part of life, and we must learn to live with them and despite them (e.g. Psalm 18:18, Luke 21:8-9).
Some people declare that disasters are God’s judgment on people. How can that be known unless God reveals it? It is foolish to make such declarations!
Others want to know why God allows such bad things to happen to people. All of these calamities take place because the world in which we live is subject to decay and corruption (Romans 8:18-25). The world began experiencing that corruption when sin entered it (Romans 5:12-18). Why it happens as it happens will always be a mystery to us; nevertheless, the fact that God loves us and wants us to be reconciled to Him does not have to be a mystery, for He displayed that love through Jesus His Son and His life, death, and resurrection (Romans 5:6-11).
For all sorts of reasons, some known, most unknown, calamities and disasters are part of this creation. They are sad events, but not even they are able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31-39). We do well to take God’s advice and always be ready for whatever may come (Matthew 24:37-25:30): be reconciled to Him, seek to do His will in all things, and to gain the ultimate victory in Jesus over all the world can throw at us!
Ethan R. Longhenry