Sunday, June 29, 2008

Divine Punishment or mere Happenstance?

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New International Version)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Weather. As the old saying goes," Everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it." Well, everyone that is except the Chinese who want their Olympics Games to go off perfectly so bad, they're putting big money into the attempt to keep the rain away. Somehow I don't think the Chinese will succeed, but I suppose I can't blame them for trying. Sorry, I digressed for a moment.

Anyway, I don't know about you all, but I have friends who are looking at the numerous weather disasters happening in the U.S. this Summer and wondering what's going on. Frankly, I don't know what's going on either. Much of California is on fire, but then again, it seems to always be on fire, whether as the result of arsonists taking advantage of extreme drought conditions or storms containing minimal rain, but absolutely amazing amounts of lightning. A few days ago, lightning set off over a thousand forest fires, many that are predicted to not be controllable for weeks. Drought is taking a massive toll in other regions of Oklahoma have been deluged while other parts are so dry, there will likely be no harvest this year. Parts of the lower Atlantic states are also in the grips of a major drought for the third year in a row. A couple Cat 1 hurricanes would do them a lot of good, but since Katrina and Rita, I doubt few in the region are praying for one in public.

And then there's the Mid West, where there was hundreds of feet of winter snow in some places and now Spring/early Summer thunderstorms have caused floods that have destroyed homes and businesses even in areas not designated as floodplains. Dams have failed in places as remote from each other as Wisconsin and Indiana. Levees are failing like dominos along the Mississippi. Worse than '93, they're calling it. All I know is that it's spooky to see places where I've lived, worked, and gone to school underwater for days. I can't help but be glad I'm not there.......and wonder how well I would cope with the situation if I was.

And me? Well, I live in the "Rust Belt", where manufacturing once provided 10s of thousands of jobs that are no more and where the mortgage loan mess has taken an even greater toll. We haven't been hit by floods or fires (yet), but the devastation is just as real. The economy was already bad here, but you know it's BAD when your state governor says there isn't even enough money to repair the roads this summer.

Is this the wrath of God or a withdrawing of His Protection? I don't know. I know that in the early 1800s, terrible earthquakes shook much of the South even turned the Mighty Mississippi back on itself. I can not imagine the horror of feeling the earth tremble and seeing sand geysers sending grit, gas, and dust many feet into the air, perhaps just moments after walking on that very spot. Nor can I imagine the Tamboro volcano exploding in 1816 and not only killing hundreds, but sending enough ash into the upper atmosphere to cause the Year Without Summer across most of the planet........causing crop killing frosts in July and August in the Americas, food riots in Europe, and cholera and typhus epidemics in Europe and Asia that killed hundreds of thousands. Did the people of that era think they had come under divine judgement? Some did. Some think America is suffering under divine judgement now. They said it was divine judgement when terrorists hijacked 4 planes and did terrible deeds that shocked the world on September 11, 2001 too. I know there is sin in the land that I love, but there is sin everywhere, some of it so evil as to be unspeakable. I also know the "sin district" of New Orleans survived Hurricane Katrina nearly intact, while churches and the homes of thousands were utterly destroyed. Is Greensburg, Kansas any more sinful and deserving of being wiped off the map by a killer tornado than any other small town in the heartland of America? Is America under divine judgement and does the above verse apply to Americans? I don't know. I only know that Jesus said the rebels who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them were no more sinful than the religious men who stood before questioning him about it......but that they too would perish if they did not repent. It would seem to me God is much more concerned with and about individuals than with nations. Can a huge nation repent of corporate hubris and idolatry? I suppose so, but only if its citizens acknowledge their own sins and repent first.

Good Night from America's "Rust Belt".


Kansas Bob said...

I wonder if we Americans are too sin-conscious? I wonder if some religious people.. not us for sure :) ..see natural disasters as God's judgment because of their predisposition to judge non-believers? And I wonder why we don't question God's blessings during the good times and the good weather? Just questions this morning.

Of course 2Chr7:14 is directed at us.. so if there are disasters than maybe we should blame us Christians :)

Hope your week is a great one!

amade said...

I think, blaming ourselves and the destruction we create, and cause- is the first place to looke...

Anonymous said...

We have had 6 plus inches of rain and are sending it up your way. Hopefully the tornadoes will stay away as the Fay travels northward.