Tuesday, 01 February 2005 13:50

Pastor's Corner Pastor Larry February 2005

Written by  Lorsen Koo
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Pastor's Corner

February, 2005


It has been exactly one month since the tsunami hit South Asia resulting in over 150,000 deaths. More deaths are expected from the aftermath from the spread of various diseases. What a horrible natural disaster! Though it is not the worse disaster ever recorded, at no time before this have the affected areas been so widely spread. Satellite pictures show the tremendous destructive forces of the waves traveling about 500mph slamming into the land, destroying structures and carrying people and debris to the depths of the ocean.


After the initial shock, one of the first questions many people asked was, “Is this an act of God or is it an attack of Satan?” It is difficult for us, who are near-sighted and limited by time and space, to answer such a profound question. However, the Bible provides some answers to this complex question. First of all, everything that happens in the world is permitted by God. This is not a sign showing Satan as the victor. The Bible tells us that God has set the cosmos on its course and it will not stop until its course is finished. This cosmos is infested and affected by the presence of Sin. From this kind of disaster, we cannot disagree with what the Bible says about the world. It says, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth.” (Rom. 8:22) What do we know about childbirth? It means a new life is coming. The Bible tells us that God is recreating a new heaven and a new earth. Permitting natural disasters is one facet of the process. We may disagree with how God brings about the new cosmos, but the authority belongs to God for He is sovereign. He does not need our permission. If He did, we would be His god. Until we accept that God has all sovereignty, we will always struggle with issues like what He can or cannot do.


Second of all, we need to know that disaster like this is not a reflection of God’s punishment. Though I am unable to substantiate what I think, I believe there are “good” people, or even Christians were among the dead. Certainly, there are many innocent children. If it were God’s punishment, many would protest, “What have they done to deserve it?” But what this incident tells us is that physical death and afflictions is part of life. It is inevitable. This is a misery that is brought by the presence of Sin. The Bible says, “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” The process of purifying is most painful. Who suffers from the fallen world? We all do! God not only knows that misery in this fallen world is inevitable, He also experienced it on the cross. He identifies with what we go through. He weeps as we weep. When disaster strikes, we see God’s sovereignty balanced with His mercy. What Jesus Christ did on the cross paved the road for those who choose to believe Him to get away from the misery of the presence of sin, and into the sin-absent environment we so look forward to. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is that we have a hope for the glorious future in the new heaven and earth.


Finally, natural disaster serves as a warning or an alarm, so to speak, to wake people up. Since the tsunami, scientists have been scrambling to find new data to “predict” future disasters. It took six hours for the undersea earthquake to hit Sri Lanka. The conclusion is that if there had been a warning system in place, many lives would have been saved. I believe it’s true, but would people have believed its destructive power? The Bible tells us that in the Endtime, more devastation will occur. “Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.” (Rev. 16:18) Would people believe these warning signs as a precursor of the coming “Big One”? Why does God give us these warnings? It is His love for us. His compassion for us is beyond our comprehension. With His sovereignty, He could bring about the final destruction without any warning. But the warnings are there to wake up those who are still lost. Do you believe in the warnings?


Before I sign off, let me reiterate that I’m not writing this from a pure theological view without having any feeling towards those who suffer. My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and their homeland. My eyes were damp when I saw the pain and helpless faces through the television screen. Let me say this, “Pain is pain, no matter how it comes about.” If there is anything we can do, like praying for them, supporting the rescue missions by being there or sending money, we should. If there is any consolation at all, God has a special heart for the innocent children who have died. They are now at God’s presence. For those who had never heard the gospel, God who is sovereign, just, and compassionate, will know how to judge. But most important of all, if you have yet to come to accept Jesus Christ as the only way to God who is never out of control, this is the time to do it. Everything around us points to one undeniable truth—the Bible is trustworthy. In it, you will find Eternal Life. I pray you will come to God today!


Pastor Larry
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