As America recovers from yet another massive natural disaster – or “act of God,” in insurance company lingo – the inevitable question resurfaces in Christian circles: Why is God crying? What is God angry about? What did we do?
It’s a popular topic every time a storm hits, especially if it hits where we don’t live. Usually, the apparent target of God’s wrath is a particular situation or people group about which the person claiming clarity happens to feel very strongly (“It’s the abortion doctor! It’s because of international policies! It’s the greedy Wall Street 1%! It’s evolution in our schools! It’s for someone with whom I am displeased!”) There’s quite a list that gets generated in the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy. Apparently, God has lots of options.
This is not new information. Even Jesus pointed out that the net we cast for sin gathers in quite a large catch. Jesus was once asked if a tower’s collapse in Siloam was a judgment from God on a particularly bad group of people. Jesus’ response:
“Do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? No! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:4-5)
If we are trying to figure out who deserves judgment, we should start with ourselves. Many Christians today don’t cast the net as widely as Jesus did. Like those who observed the tower of Siloam fall and assumed God was not pleased with a particular target group, Frankenstorm clearly means God is seriously upset with a particular target group, right? “Thank God it’s not me!” (said all those who lived far enough away).
This perspective blatantly ignores the perspective of Jesus. If Hurricane Sandy is for some, it’s deserved by all. Ignoring that fact is bad enough, but there is a more fundamental question that needs to be addressed: Does God use natural disasters to punish America? Continue Reading…