Did God send Hurricane Sandy to somehow punish those in its path? Many suggest this is the case. If this is true how do we reconcile this with the loving God who sent Jesus to remediate the ills of mankind and promise us in John 10:10:
Jhn 10:10 – The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We should take this occasion to examine our thinking on this issue. In the Old Testament we find the Prophet Isaiah speaking in the name of the Lord:
Isa 45:7 – I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. 8 You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.
So does this in fact mean unequivocally that God burned down 50 homes, killed 19 people and caused billions of dollars of damage last night? Let’s read the rest of the passage:
10 – Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’
What is this verse saying IN CONTEXT with verses 7 and 8 above? It is the Father saying “yes I am God and there is no process that I am not lord over”. However in verse 10 He goes on to reject the fatalistic viewpoint “God did it! It is an act of God and there is nothing we can do about it ….” Let’s read the next verse:
Isa 45:11 – Thus says the LORD, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
What an amazing thought! The suggestion of this passage then is yes, God is Lord over every situation but he has passed some level of jurisdiction over to men and women. I still remember when Pat Robertson rebuke hurricane Gloria in 1985 and to the chagrin of the media and other mockers the hurricane turned and headed back out into the Atlantic.
So do we as a people have some untapped authority over creation to still waves and storms and take dominion over creation? There are many scriptures that would suggest so:
Gen 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image… let them have dominion … over all the earth.
When God made man he gave man god-like authority over the earth. When man sinned this authority was wrested from him by disobedience and we find Satan is then the one in a place of jurisdiction over the elements. This is referenced in the following verse:
Eph 2:2 – in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air…
So clearly outside of Christ the enemy Satan has power and ability to bring storms and destruction over the earth. It is important to understand that Satan didn’t acquire this ability legitimately. Satan became the prince of the power of the air BY DEFAULT as a result of Adam’s abdication of the dominion God gave him in Gen. 1:26.
This is why Jesus made a point to demonstrate power and authority over creation and the elements.
Mar 4:39 – Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
Mat 21:19 – And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away.
Mar 6:48 – Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.
Now people often say “That was Jesus – we can’t do such things…” That may be the common experience but Jesus himself said that we as believers would follow in his footsteps and actually at some point exceed his exploits:
Jhn 14:12 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Now if this is true how come some haven’t experienced this dominion? There are many variables that cause powerlessness in prayer. We also cannot fail to remember that prayers prevent things from happening that we don’t often take into account. In other words if we hadn’t prayed in the first place how much worse would things have been?
Does any of this even matter? The damage is done and now the cleanup begins and funerals will be held. It’s like shutting the gate after the cows get out as we say in the mid-west. It is important to think about because IF God brought this calamity as a sovereign act over which we have no control and no escape then what about our personal disasters?
Did God give you cancer? Did God cause you to lose your job or cause your house to be foreclosed on? Did God cause the miscarriage you suffered as a child or did he allow the rape, or murder, or countless other horrific tragedies you might have experienced? Many with a religious mind-set believe God in fact does do all things for some inscrutable “higher purpose”. This is an abominable lie.
God is the same God over individuals that He is over nations. We need to realize that God is a good God! He is a good God who insinuates himself into our lives that are lived out in a fallen creation. When Adam fell he inadvertently opened the door to death, destruction and calamity that have been the hallmark of the human experience for 6000 years. But the Father has made a way to change all that both on a personal level and on a global scale:
He sent Jesus. He took stripes on his body for your healing. He suffered and died to bring you to the righteousness, peace and joy of the Kingdom of God even while you are on the earth in a fallen creation. So obey Isa 45:11 when you are facing a challenge. Command the works of the hand of God in your behalf. Speak to the storm in your life even as Jesus spoke to the fig tree. The authority of the Son of God will back you up and make the difference and you will not longer be a victim but a conqueror and more than a conqueror in Christ!
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