Over the past week, since the tragedy that struck the Philippines that left an estimated 10,000 dead and many more wounded or missing, we have heard many voices.
We have heard the voices of the meteorologists who have been explaining what happened and the chances of it happening again.
We have heard the voices of the news reporters telling us of the damage that was caused as well as telling us the death toll.
We have heard the voices of the Philippine people as they scream and cry over the damage from the typhoon.
We have heard the voices of many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, talking about what they can do to help.
And, sadly, we have heard the voices of Christians saying that this typhoon was God’s judgement of the Philippine islands as a result of their great sin.
It is in these confusing times that we need a voice that speaks the truth while also calling all to the God who created all things and longs for the restoration of His creation.
During Jesus’ ministry, as He was teaching, a matter was brought to His attention regarding a group of Galileans who were killed and had their blood mingled with the sacrifices that Pilate was offering. Jesus’ response was plain and simply, one we should all listen to in times of natural and un-natural (shootings, murders, war) tragedies:
“‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'” (Luke 13:2-5; ESV)
The poor people who suffered in the Philippines were not worse sinners. They were simply human. We are all guilty of breaking the law and we are all sinners, worthy of an early demise. However, God does not want us to suffer in such a way.
Jesus makes it perfectly clear: unless we repent of our sins, we will also perish. We will also die a horrible and tragic death.
This world, from wildfires to typhoons and earthquakes, are largely as a result of the first sin ever to be committed by Adam and Eve. The world is now in chaos as a result of our sin.
Death by these disasters is not divine punishment. It is a result of the sin prevalent in this world.
Let these disasters be a call to repentance, a call to return to God. Be thankful you have not suffered in such a terrible way. Just because you have not suffered doesn’t mean that God does not see your sin.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.” (Romans 2:4-5)
Until next time, keep the faith.
One Love. One God. One Way.