Epic wildfires in California, multiple hurricanes with catastrophic flooding on several coasts, and a slaughter in Las Vegas, have recently taken a toll on the people and resources of our country. Some, having a sense that there may be a god or force “out there”, do wonder WHY such a cluster of events have been taking place (and wonder are there more to come?). Others, seeing themselves as less superstitious and more scientific, just see these things as the uncontrollable forces of “mother nature” (or in the case of Las Vegas, another evidence of the madness that people are capable of). Still others see this as the judgments of God who doesn’t like the arrogant disregard of people for Himself and His ways.
From a biblical perspective, the Creator God has used (and will use in the future) the natural world to discipline wayward people. As evidence, we can see the flood of Noah’s day (Gen. 6), the plagues on Egypt (Exo. 7-9), the seven years of famine on Egypt (Gen. 41) and literally dozens of other examples in the Bible. So, is that is what is happening in America? Some say “yes”, claiming that they have gotten a special word from God Himself on the subject. I can make no such claim. But I am convinced that Jesus has an important point on the matter. In Luke 13:4, Jesus talked about a recent tragedy in His day:
“DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT THOSE 18 ON WHOM THE TOWER IN SILOAM FELL AND KILLED THEM, WERE WORSE CULPRITS THAN ALL THE MEN WHO LIVE IN JERUSALEM? I TELL YOU, “NO”, BUT UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH.”
Jesus does not answer our “why” question nor does He dismiss such events as random and uncontrollable. What He does say, is that we are to seriously consider these events and recognize that we could be the ones entering eternity. With that in mind, according to Jesus, repenting of our sin would be the prudent thing to do. To face eternity without a clear knowledge of where that eternity will be spent is the most reckless thing that a person can do. Fortunately, John 3:16 is still in play.