Natural Disasters: Natural Responses

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Natural disasters come with frequency in our world.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis, volcanoes, typhoons, earthquakes, famines, droughts, pestilence and plagues are all part of living in a fallen world that heaves brokenness.  These disasters all impact people regardless of race, nationality, religious affiliation, social status or political affiliation.  Right now, the rains following hurricane Harvey are wreaking havoc in Texas.  We pray, give and yearn to help.  They struggle, suffer and strive to survive.  People often ask “Why?”  There aren’t always easy teleological or theological answers to the why question.  Science gives us some good handles on the cosmological reasons.  But, even science has not figured out how to abate macro-aggression of this temperamental planet.

Jesus told us that the rain falls on the just and unjust or the good and evil or the righteous and wicked, whichever translation you prefer (Matthew 5:45).  Bad stuff happens to us all.  The “why” question is simple in some ways and more complex in others.  But, the “what” question is always most germane and important for us.  We can control what we do and how we respond.  The context of these words of Jesus was for us to love our enemies and pray for those who mean us harm.  He followed with the expression of love taking us to do the sacrificial and give to others without expecting in return.  The context of Jesus’ words was telling us to love everyone in every circumstance without trying to get something back.  People who don’t like us need love.  People who ask us for help need that same love.  And, we should give it without looking for something in return.  He was clear on that.

Bad things happen to us all.  Sometimes people are innocent victims of tragedy.  Sometimes they might be less innocent.  It does not matter to us.  It was not Jesus’ concern or point.  Their pain does matter to Jesus and us.  When disaster strikes, no matter whether it is natural or not, our natural response would be to open our hearts in prayer, sacrificial giving and a willingness to walk a mile or two with those who are suffering.  That should always be our natural response to natural disaster.

Matthew Thomas
By Matthew Thomas

In my sixth decade of seeing God work simply increases my faith. Born in California, raised in Washington, ministered in Washington, Oregon, Canada, Philippines, Idaho and now all over the world has given me reason to believe and praise. My wife, Marlene and four children (Luke, Mitch, Samuel and Charese) give me reason to give deep thanks. My eight beautiful grandchildren (Jalen, Jordan, Katelin, Andrew, Eli, Callia, Asher and Mikaela) give me reason to see that grace reaches beyond our immediate present into our un-conceived future. Serving with a great team in the Free Methodist Church makes me a blessed person in a blessed place, serving with blessed people.

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