Natural Disasters – God’s Call for Repentance?

I read a book the other day called “Nature Out of Control – When God breaks His silence”  by M Basilea Schilink.  In this book she states her belief that the severe natural disasters  in recent times represent God’s judgement for people to repent of their sinful lives and turn their hearts to Him.

Natural disasters have dramatically increased in recent times, according to a Swiss insurance company who has monitored the damage caused by these catastrophes for the past 20 years.  Examples of this are:-

– tornadoes and hurricanes in Central America and the United States
– record sub zero temperatures with masses of snow in America’s Mid-West and East bringing life to a standstill
–  extensive forest fires in Italy Spain and France
–  a major earthquake in India previously unprone to earthquakes
–  storms,  flooding and earthquakes in Japan sending tremors as far as Russia and Korea
–  severe flooding, landslides & mudslides in India, Nepal and Bangladesh leaving about 7 million homeless
–  catastrophic flooding in southern Switzerland,  North Italy ,South France, Germany & Holland.
– swarms of locusts destroying all vegetation in Africa & the Arabian Peninsula
–  a massive invasion of gypsy moth caterpillars destroying wooded regions in central Europe
–  a butterfly plague in Venezuala causing rashes and fever.

These natural disasters can be very humbling as we realise that we can feel totally helpless, when God allows these events to occur.  It is painful yet awe inspiring as it reveals the sheer power of the Almighty God.

The author goes on to say that the particular areas affected are often targeted for a particular reason.  For instance she noted that the Blue Mountains in Australia, which has a long tradition of witchcraft and occultism has been, in the past, ravaged by bushfires.

An even more obvious example occurred in Northbridge California in the San Fernando Valley,  where an unexpected earthquake erupted.  As a result nearly 70 companies which produced 95% of the pornographic videos for the USA,  were severely hit.  Expensive equipment and archives were buried under the rubble.  Apparently a helicopter pilot was staggered by this devastation and the Northbridge area was described as a ghost town during this time.

It shows that God cannot be mocked.  As many individuals choose to build wealth and store up riches for themselves and continue to lead a sinful life,  God can suddenly destroy everything  in an instant.  It is like  the passage in Luke 12:15-21 where a rich farmer chose to store up his crops in large barns so that he could take life easy to eat drink and be merry.  But God said to him ” You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you .  Then you will get what you have prepared for yourself”.

During the Northbridge tragedy a Californian Minister wrote an article about God’s call for repentance signified by this natural disaster.  The tragedy is that many involved in the sins of immorality and pornography still chose to harden their hearts from their evil ways.

The author goes on to say that during times of natural disasters christians must pray for the ungodly and unsaved that they may repent of their sins such as violence, occultism, adultery, promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality and the abolition of bible teaching within schools.  We must pray instead that people will turn their hearts to the Lord so they can receive his forgiveness &  strength,  to experience his salvation and eternal life.  As Christians we must also check our own hearts to repent of apathy or lukewarmness which can inherently allow this moral landslide to occur in our society.  These natural disasters can be seen as God’s discipline,  encouraging people to have a reverential and healthy fear of God to motivate them to live their lives according to his ways in His Word.

Despite the harshness of these natural calamities,  God also shows his mercy as well.  For instance during severe fire storms people marveled at the supernatural way many were protected or saved just moments from death.  Although property was damaged many thousands were still able to escape with their lives, as in the case of the severe fires in the Blue Mountains. In California , Los Angeles, the earthquake came on a public holiday at 4.31am in the morning when hardly anyone was on the roads.  This enabled many lives to be saved even though property and roads were damaged.  God also miraculously protected  his own Christian believers as they prayed to him for help.  As a result many christian homes,  christian ministry centres and a christian radio station escaped unscathed.

God also showed his compassion for the weak.  For instance during the severe earthquake in Northbridge California,  most buildings at the university there were totally devastated.  However one building containing 250 disabled students and 2 Christian professors were spared since God had pity on them.

This is evidence of the truth found in Lamentations 3:22-33 which says:-The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,  his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness… The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him… Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.

Conversely it could be said that if people in a nation do follow God’s principals, than that nation will experience more of the blessings of the Lord.  I noticed for instance that around the same time that the apology to the stolen generation occurred by the Australian government,  that the rains came pouring down to fill the dams to 60% capacity for the first time in 10 years, which was able to partly alleviate many drought stricken areas.  Perhaps if more progress is made to better the conditions of aboriginal people,  then perhaps all of the drought affected areas would be saved and the whole economy would also thrive.

In conclusion whether we believe that natural disasters are a judgment from God or not ,  we can still pray that during such times, unbelievers will develop a renewed respect and awe of the Almighty God so they will repent of their sinful ways and turn their hearts to him to receive his forgiveness and salvation in their time of need.

NB.  I do believe that God does often demonstrate a special protection for those who devote their lives to him.  I  can give an example of this from my own life.  Many years ago I previously worked in a branch of a bank which dealt directly with everyday customers.  The tellers worked downstairs and the loans section was situated upstairs.  Since I was undergoing the graduate training program I was rotated to all different functions of the branch.  One particular day I was upstairs trying to reorganise the whole store room and minding my own business.  I believe I was one of the only people working upstairs.  Later in the day I was told that during this time their was a “hold up”  of the entire downstairs branch by a group of bank robbers.  A number of senior and junior staff had to undergo counselling afterwards after facing gun point.  I believe God protected me by allowing me to escape this serious danger by situating me in a back room upstairs away from harm.  People may think this was just a coincidence but I truly believe this was God’s hand of protection .

Comedy Corner:  If you think nobody cares,  try missing a few payments

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