READ: Psalm 107:23-31; Psalm 107:33-34; Psalm 97:7; Psalm 78:31-34; Psalm 18:7-15; Psalm 106:36
I was trying to digest last Sunday’s sermon when the pastor illustrated God’s word in line with the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that hit Philippines last November 18. She boldly said that despite the calamity, God has no message and God speak nothing during the typhoon, but only after it, when a total silence was heard. She illustrated that God only wanted to let His people know that He is supreme and powerful God by quoting
Acts 27 about Paul’s voyage for Rome, as an example. She further added physical laws that could possibly explained any catastrophe like typhoon and that we must stop blaming God because God’s ways and thinking are so far different with humans’. Finally, she emphasized that Philippines is not the center of the universe to rebut the viral worldwide negative opinions of some (both Christians and non), who were telling that we received it as punishment for our sins as sinful nation.
However, when I peruse and meditate upon the book of Revelation, Matthew, Acts, Isaiah and other similar Books in the Bible which commonly talks about devastation as God’s way of punishment, reminders and signs of His second coming, there’s some thing within me that strongly opposes to hers. Yes, there are experts who can attest their data reliable to explain that typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was man-made. This is how Science deals with the anxious people. That all things on the face of the Earth have explanation, why they exist, evolve and vanish opposing the spiritual/divine perspective.
So, what’s the use of prophesy? Aren’t those message from God? Aren’t those so-called modern day prophets telling signs of visions before the devastation (7.2 magnitude earthquake and super Typhoon Haiyan) hit Philippines messengers of God? Were those signs and visions mere product of hallucination, imagination or lies which in fact did happened? There had been a prophesy telling Cebu will be washed out from the Philippine archipelago since it needs cleaning from pollution, idolatry and other forms of sin. Then another on telling there only would be a single island left in the Philippines after another devastation would happened–totally destroying the nation from the face of the Earth.
Again, when the pastor in the church I was attending to speak about the Philippines as not the center of the universe, we understood that she’s trying to appease or free the congregation from guilt from the viral comments against us-victims of these devastations. Those comments like you are being punished by God because of your wicked ways reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah in the old testament and how Israel were attacked by its enemies due to its stubbornness and wickedness—all with the consent of God as a father’s discipline to His children.
I don’t want to go against her. I highly respect servants of God. Her stand that God send typhoon to show His sovereignty, no more, no less draw me in bewilderment because I am anticipating that she would ask the congregation to repent and turn to God. Why did I expect her to do so? Does it mean I disagree upon God’s sovereignty that when He would want to send any calamity with whatever reason is, He can do so since He’s so powerful? Certainly not!
I expected that she would call upon the congregation to repent because there’s a fire inside me that was bursting. But she didn’t. So I left the church with an empty heart yet I can still feel the desire to repent for my nation’s wickedness and so I did while my heart was continually being shattered by the news–the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan and the million prayers and aid from countries around the world.
REACT: God has a purpose for everything in our life. Sometimes by calling us to repent and to worship the true God and to know Him by accepting Him as our God and personal savior. And whether man-made or not, let’s pray without ceasing that we can endure the rage of nature since we can’t predict its aftermath. One thing I learned from all these havoc that wrack our senses is that the spirit of unity, ingenuity, understanding, humility, optimism and strong faith to God is not in its deep sleep. It may take a nap but I thank these calamities for waking us all up.
Sympathy–a very appeasing word is not just the act of praying to those grieved individuals but giving hands–which turns into empathy.
1. I Am Sodom (11/7/13) (tworiversblog.com)
2. Dismayed by My Own Fallenness (brokenbelievers.com)
3. Is God the Author of Sin? (whycalvinismiswrong.wordpress.com)
4. The strange thing about strange fire (melwild.wordpress.com)
5.A mad cat over tornado?(kristelgarciano.wordpress.com)
6.Why did God allow Catholic Church buildings be destroyed by earthquakes? (kristelgarciano.wordpress.com)
“You have rejected us, God, and defeated us;
You have been angry with us—but now turn back to us.
You had made the land tremble, you have cut it open;
now heal its wounds, because it is falling apart.
You have made your people suffer greatly;
We stagger around us though we were drunk.
You have warned those who have reverence for you,
So that they might escape destruction.”
… “To you alone, O Lord, to you alone and not us, must glory be given because of your constant love and faithfulness. Why should the nations ask us, “Where is your God?” Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He wishes. Their gods are made of silver and gold, formed by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear and noses but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel and feet, but cannot walk; they cannot make a sound. May all who made them and who trust in them become like the idols they have made. “