The God of the Tsunami
Tsunami – the word took on new meaning when the world awoke to one of nature’s most terrifying acts of devastation. Experts tell us that, ‘The earth wobbled on its axis like a flickering top.’ Dr. Tapponier head of Teutonics at the Institute of Physique de Globe said the earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean lasted for 200 seconds building up huge amounts of energy in the Sea that in turn drove towering waves unto the beaches from Indonesia to Africa. The loss of property was in the millions, while the loss of life continued to climb to over 150,000. The whole quake and its aftermath were absolutely horrific.
Amos asks, ‘The Lion has roared – who will not fear?’ How are we to view this awesome act of nature? How does God fit into all that happened in its wake? Is it an act of God or is it an act beyond God’s control? Did God want to help but was helpless to do anything? Or did he, as the Psalmist writes, show his power and glory through it all: ‘May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works. He who looks at the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke!’ As those who believe that God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, we also believe that our God was the primary cause of the Tsunami. It neither took our Lord by surprise nor was he a helpless spectator as the waves roared toward land.
Our age denies these truths. Fallen man is opposed to God and hates most of all God’s absolute Sovereignty. But when one reads Amos chapter four we see clearly that God took responsibility for every natural disaster that fell upon Israel in judgment. And equally we see the response of man, ‘yet you did not return unto me.’ Of course, we trust that the disaster of December 26th, which terrorized the Far East, would cause some to tremble and return to God. Sadly, the answer of many to the disaster is the usual, ‘How can anyone believe in a God who would do such a thing?’ But our response is, ‘How can you see such a thing and not tremble at our God?’
Certainly, we don’t have all the answers to our questions about the Tsunami. Yet, we are reminded how many were swept into eternity unprepared to stand before the God of heaven and earth. And just as certainly, the Tsunami reminds us all of Amos’ warning to his own people in Amos 3:12: ‘Prepare to meet your God.‘ While many Christians and pastors seek to absolve God from having anything to do with this ‘freak’ of nature, they continue to believe that this same God wiped out the entire earth’s population in the days of Noah. And along the same lines the Tsunami was a ripple in the pond when we read in 2 Peter 3:10, ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.’ It will not only be a worse disaster, but there will be no time to repent then, or to turn to the Lord and seek his salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How then should we view this disaster and others like them?
First, as believers we are called to love and help the survivors as best we can. God uses these things in a variety of ways and one of them is to test the hearts of his people as to whether they love as he loves.
Second, we can use it as a tool to witness. We can say did you see and hear about that disaster on the Far East? If you had been on that beach and swept into eternity would you be prepared to meet your God?
Thirdly, we need to remind ourselves that this world is an ante-chamber to eternity. That life here is really preparation for the life to come. Are we ourselves prepared to meet our God? As the people of God do we sense any urgency in prayer, loving and living for others who need to know our God? One simple question can set anyone thinking, ‘What are we here for?’ What are we here for if it is not to live to the glory of God and tell others of his saving grace?
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