The devastating floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria have rightly taken over our attention and have been the object of our concerns, thoughts and prayers during the past few weeks. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.
There are many opportunities that tragic disasters of these kinds give us. The more obvious ones are our prayers, financial help and, where possible, practical hands-on assistance. These are obviously good and tend to bring out the best in us. But there is another, less obvious opportunity that these disasters give us, that of reflection and repentance. ‘Acts of God’, as our insurance policies describe floods, fire, famines, earthquakes and the like, afford us all a chance for sober thought: they remind us that we are not in control.
I am not for one moment suggesting that the people affected by these floods are the objects of God’s judgement or disfavour like the people of Judah are in Isaiah. Indeed, the Lord Jesus specifically rules out any direct link between bad things that happen and specific sin (Luke 13:1-5). Unless of course he had sent his prophet like Isaiah to proclaim this judgment.
However, what He does call upon us to do when wars, famine, earthquakes, pestilences and the like come (as they have in every generation since His coming), is to take stock of our lives and be reminded of His coming again to judge us all (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).
These events which expose our helplessness are meant to cause us to stop and be prepared for His awful judgement, where we will have no place to hide and no place of safety. Unless we have made provision in advance, by turning back to God, seeking forgiveness for our sin (Luke 13:3 & 5) by trusting the Lord Jesus, and building our lives on Him (Matthew 7:24-27). The truth is that we are all rebels against God and He would allow these crises – like floods – to be a wake-up call. C.S. Lewis put it so well when he wrote of pain and suffering:
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
Such is God’s love for us. Our pleasures have dulled our consciences and lulled us into a false sense of security, but He would save us from our folly and give to us not only the security of a loving relationship with Himself through His Son, but also a safe place to stand when we have to give account.
The question is of course, “Who or what are you putting your trust in?”