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Giant Waves, Earthquakes, and The Sovereignty of God
What has happened in Japan is simply catastrophic. My heart goes out to
the Japanese citizens, especially those who dwell in the NE, the Sendai
Area, Date Masamune country (I had to throw some samurai history into
this article). Watching the wall of water devour huge chunks of land,
tossing people, cars, buses, homes, and even moving containers like
driftwood can have a humbling, effect on our psyche. We realize we are
powerless when it comes to things like earthquakes, tsunamis,
hurricanes, tornadoes, and even cooling the core of a nuclear reactor.
Uranium has a life of its own. The man-made reactor and nuclear
specialists ultimately cannot tame this fissionable material. We are
As Christians, however, don't we possess tremendous authority (Matt 21:21)? Don't we have authority over nature (Mark 4:39)? Are we just mere cogs in the fatalistic machinery of life? Don't we have a say about things? Or should we look at it this way? Was the recent tsunami an opportunity for people to turn to God? You know the pat answers, "God will cause all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28). He is in control (Col 1: 17). What was meant for evil, God has turned around for good (Genesis 50:20)."
After wrestling with God and other crazy people who think about these things, I have come to this conclusion: we swing from one extreme to the other. Human beings like extremes because it gives us a sense of stability, a sense of comfort, a sense that we are God. We want the final blueprint for everything. We want to nail down the mysteries of life, even though the term mystery means 'the unknown'. Knowledge brings power (Proverbs 24:5). Some are either extreme dominion theologians, rebuking everything from hurricanes to mosquitos biting them at a barbecue; or, they are Hyper-Calvinists who bow to every evil thing as coming from the hand of God. "We need to accept this cancer because through it God will grow us in character." Maybe some fall in between the two, but in the end, we still place our trust in some quasi-theology to make sense of our world and God's ways.
Who's right? Maybe we need to pray for strength to ride out a hurricane. Maybe we need to rebuke it in Jesus' name. Maybe we need to believe God for a complete healing for someone suffering with stage four lymphoma cancer. I think all speak truth to our spirit, but could this be the answer? Instead of placing our trust in a theology (study of God), why not place our trust in God? What do I mean by this? Why not have such a close relationship with the Living God, that we know what to do and think in every situation? Why not be like David when he asked God, "Should we fight or not fight the Philistines?" He was a man after God's own heart. He was a man after God's ways. He sought God first for the answer, not some theological work.
Please understand, I am not against good theology and Bible study. I am a proponent of these things. I am against, however, an unbalanced trust in study apart from a real relationship with God. Many have and are continuing to go down this path. It leads to spiritual dryness and death.
Even Balaam, the rebellious prophet, said, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the Lord speaks, that I must do’ (Numbers 23:26)?” He only did what Yahweh asked him to do. Jesus said and did the same thing (John 8:28). Every man and woman of God trusted the Living God, not some theology.
Man's propensity is to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, rather than from the tree of life (God). Face it, many want to be God. It's easier and more expedient to be God. Many want it fast but the way of God is for the patient of heart. John 14:6 states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me." Many are called to life (God) and not death. Theology brought death to the Pharisees, but God, through Jesus, brought life to those who sought Him.
Pursuing relationship with God while studying the Scriptures produces humility and true wisdom. Studying the Scriptures alone cements God into a box and blinds us to the real truth. The Pharisees did this and paid a tremendous price. They missed their day of visitation. Many are paying the same price today. When learning how to fix a car, you just don't look at a mechanics guide to grow in mechanical proficiency. One needs to poke their head into an engine and get greasy. There is nothing like the real thing. It's the same with our pursuit of God. Many stay satisfied with just sticking their faces into a Bible, but fail to relate with God. They know about God rather than know God. It takes faith to go beyond knowledge and into relationship. That's the clarion call for all Christians today. It's the great divide. It's a choice between realness or hypocrisy.
So what should we make of the recent tragedy in Japan? I honestly don't know the full answer. I will continue to pray for these precious people. I will continue to spend time with our Father to find out the answer. He may answer me now or he may answer me later. He may not answer me at all, but I will grow in my relationship with God through the experience of just relating. He will do the same for you. Nothing is wasted with God. Brothers and sisters, approach the throne of grace and talk to Him face to face (Hebrews 4:16). You will be blessed (Jeremiah 33:3).
It's time to draw near to God.