Listen to this devotional:
Job 38:24-25;34-35 – What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm? Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, "Here we are"? (NIV)
Recently in the news, it was reported that natural disasters doubled during 2010 from 200 to 400, and 42 million people were displaced as a result. During 2011, we have seen the triple disaster in Japan (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown); in Iceland and New Zealand there have been enormous volcanic ash plumes disrupting air travel; and in North America, we have seen the most serious tornado devastation in the American midwest, wildfires in Arizona and Alberta, and flooding on the Mississippi, Assiniboine, Richelieu, and Souris rivers. In Europe, we have seen an epidemic of a previously unseen E. coli strain infecting thousands and killing dozens. New viruses appear around the world every year, and superbugs are now capable of defeating the strongest antibiotics available.
What's to be made of all this? I believe that God has made this world in such a way that He is able to remind us that we human beings are not in charge of our own destiny. Every time we conquer an old foe and begin to think that we have our world under control, God is able to unleash something new to remind us, like Job of old, that we are not in charge of this world.
The other day, I was reading about the rise and fall of King Uzziah:
2 Chronicles 26:15b-16a – His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God. (NIV)
I'm afraid that the terrorists are right about one thing: the decadence and moral degeneration of western civilization. Maybe God has raised them up against us like He raised up the Assyrians against Judah when His people forsook Him for the Baals. Maybe these disasters are also sent as a humbling warning to return to the God of our fathers in contrite repentance. Let's pray that we who know and obey the God who created the universe will lead the way back to respect for His omnipotence and reception of His salvation offered in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer: Lord, we lift up the citizens of our country before You, many of whom do not know You. Place a burden of prayer and concern on each of our hearts who do know You, that we may be instruments and channels of Your healing and wholeness to our land. Fill us with Your Spirit and contrite repentance, returning to You with our whole hearts, that we may be beacons of righteousness and truth in the place where we live. Amen.