Stormy ways & Godly ways?

 

‘Can any of the foreign gods send us rain? Does it fall from the sky by itself? No, it comes from you, the Lord our God! Only you can do such things. So we will wait for you to help us.’ – Jeremiah 14:22

‘My heart pounds as I think of this. It leaps within me. Listen carefully to the thunder of God’s voice as it rolls from his mouth. It rolls across the heavens, and his lightning flashes out in every direction. Then comes the roaring of the thunder – the tremendous voice of his majesty. He does not restrain the thunder when he speaks. God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We cannot comprehend the greatness of his power.’ – Job 37:1-5


From my last post, I talked about tons of rain on the Sunshine Coast.  This post is mainly my viewpoint on God’s role in storms and disasters which can unfortunately affect people in a very negative way.

Sometimes when people ask me questions about my faith in God, there is usually a question in there about “why would God do such horrible things to people if He loved them?”

This is a really difficult question as it is such a sensitive issue and people (including Christians) can disagree depending on their experiences.  I believe that we live in a fallen world where there is sin and tragedy and heartache.  Of course, this was never God’s intention for us, as when he made the world He said “it was good.” (Genesis 1).  Then we have this darkness called Satan and it describes what he is up to in 1 Peter 5:8  ‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.’ God didn’t intend for a world of evil when He made it.  He was hoping that Adam and Eve would choose life. But God does give us choices in our lives that end in consequences, just like Adam and Eve were given choices in the garden and decided to choose a path that God did not want for them. Just like a loving parent teaching their child the rights and wrongs of life, when the child choses to do something bad, there are consequences to get that child hopefully back on to the right path.  Basically, if you shut God out of your life how can He be there for you?

In an interview with the SBS, Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) was asked about 9/11 and that if God was good, then why did He let this happen.  Her answer sums it up: “I say God is also angry when he sees something like this.  I would say also for several years now Americans in a sense have shaken their fist at God and said, God, we want you out of our schools, our government, our business, we want you out of our marketplace. And God, who is a gentleman, has just quietly backed out of our national and political life, our public life. Removing his hand of blessing and protection. We need to turn to God first of all and say, God, we’re sorry we have treated you this way and we invite you now to come into our national life. We put our trust in you. We have our trust in God on our coins, we need to practice it.”

Many Christians (including myself in the past) speak a falsehood when they say that God does not cause suffering and is not an angry God who hurts people.  They spread the word that God is only a God of love, gentleness, peacefulness, compassion, etc.  He is definitely those things and much more, but He can also be jealous, angry, stubborn and protective.  He says so himself:

  • ‘The Lord is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies! The Lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are dust beneath his feet.’ (Nahum 1:1-3)
  • ‘”I kept the rain from falling when you needed it the most, ruining all your crops. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell in one field, while the other field withered away. People staggered from one town to another for a drink of water, but there was never enough. But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the Lord.’ (Amos 5:7-8)
  • ‘For the godless are full of resentment. Even when he punishes them, they refuse to cry out to him for help. They die young after wasting their lives in immoral living. But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.’ (Job 36:13-15)

It is pretty clear from God’s Word (the Bible) that he doesn’t take disobedience lightly, that He is serious!  This shouldn’t be a shock to us as He has plainly outlined it numerous times in his Book.  What do we expect? Do what we fancy and get away with it?  Imagine if that were true!

The next step, is understanding the consequences of choosing Him and living the very best we can according to His Word.  Here are a scatter of scriptures that only touch on what He expects:

  • ‘Do what is good and run from evil – that you may live! The the Lord God Almighty will truly be your helper, just as you have claimed he is.’ (Amos 5:14)
  • ‘If you want me to protect you, learn to believe what I say?‘ (Isaiah 7:9b)
  • ‘Be on guard! Turn back from evil, for it was to prevent you from getting into a life of evil that God sent this suffering.” (Job 36:21)

Another common question that people ask is “If God can do anything, why can’t He just make people do what He wants?”

I believe that when God created us, He wanted us to have fellowship with Him.  He didn’t want to make robots.  It is the same as being married to the love of your life.  It is such a wonderful feeling knowing that your husband/wife chose you.  They could have chosen anyone, but they loved you and chose to be with you.  Then imagine it differently – you are married to the love of your life because you made them love you. They never had a choice.  Which way is more fulfilling and loving?  God wants us to choose Him, He yearns for us to choose the right path that He has set out for us that leads to Him.

I love this verse from Galatians 6:7-9 ‘Do not be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.’

I also love the explanation of this from *Christian Living for Today* –

There will be storms.  The Bible tells us that God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good.  Not just the good.  And He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Not just the unrighteous.  Of course, this verse is not just talking about literal sunlight and rain, but about the metaphorical light and rain as well.  We will have sadness.  We will have afflictions.  People with faith still have to struggle with life.
The difference is:  People with faith don’t have to go it alone.  God wants us to lean on Him in difficult times.  He calls us to glorify Him when the roads are freshly paved, and when they are full of potholes.  Then the going gets tough, the faithful lean on God.  That’s the way He wants it to be.

He wants us to hope in Him, and it is this hope that will renew our strength, that will give us the power to soar like eagles, to run like champions, and to walk with courage and perseverance.

It’s sometimes difficult to swallow, but the Bible even tells us to rejoice in the storm.  Sounds almost silly to consider rejoicing when a tornado approaches our home, threatening to destroy everything we hold dear, but it is precisely in the face of such strong winds that we are called to rejoice, because it is these storms that force us to lean upon God.

I really love this scripture and it has helped me stay steadfast in hard times – ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28

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