Superstorm Sandy has dominated the news for nearly a week now. It is the worst hurricane to hit the northeastern coast in recorded history. Covering an area twice the size of Texas, it has affected 20 Northeastern states from North Carolina to Maine, and inland as far as Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan.
Recent statistics list at least 80 deaths and up to 8 million households, who may be without power a week or more. Sandy brought rainfall from 5 1/2 to 12 1/2 inches, snow in various states from 9 to 29 inches, and sustained winds of 40 to 65 mph with gusts up to 90 mph. Storm surges in various coastal towns ranged from 9 to 14 feet above normal, setting a record in New York City.
Forty-six miles of the New York subway still remain underwater. One community, Breezy Point in Queens, was especially hard-hit with over 100 homes lost to a raging fire. Estimates of the damage run as high as $25 billion dollars.
We frequently hear such natural disasters referred to as “acts of God.” They are even referred to this way in many insurance documents. But is God behind such disasters? Some people even say that natural disasters are judgment from God. Is this God’s intention toward us?
Most of us have at least heard of John 3:16 which tells us that God so loved the world that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to give us abundant life. But many of us are not aware of the verse that follows, John 3:17, which states: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus said of Himself in John 12:47b: I did not come into the world to judge the world, but to save the world.”
Jesus demonstrated his attitude toward destructive storms one day when He was on the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. Galilee is a large lake, 64 square miles and violent storms can arise on it very quickly. They were going to the other side of the lake, and Jesus had fallen asleep in the bow, when a fierce storm arose and began battering the boat. Even though many of them were seasoned fisherman, the disciples became frightened and awakened Jesus with their fearful cries.
Jesus immediately stood up and commanded the wind and the waves to be still, and the storm immediately left. The disciples were in awe, wondering what kind of a person Jesus was! This was obviously a very memorable event as three out of the four Gospel writers recorded it. (Matthew 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, Luke 8:22–25)
The creation account in Genesis makes it clear that God created the natural world to function in perfect harmony, without violence or chaotic conditions. He also created human beings to have dominion over the natural world and to take care of it. Unfortunately, when we disobeyed God and sin and corruption entered our human nature, it also entered the natural world as well, bringing natural disasters with it.
In His love for us, Father God desires our good, not our harm or destruction. Superstorm Sandy is not an act of God, but God wants to comfort and heal all of those who have been devastated by Sandy’s destruction. Let’s share in His heart of goodness by praying for those who have been affected, and sending all the assistance we can.
Please join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. We are beginning a new series, “Grateful for the Goodness of God,” and my son Gabriel will be speaking on “I Have a Good Father.”