" The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord. The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails”—Joel 1:9 b–10.
A natural disaster may or may not be judgment from God. One thing is for sure, it is evidence of God. It is a wake up call. The extreme devastation is from forces uncontrived by mankind. The wind, the water, and the floods are the result of heaven's fury. This arrest in activity is an opportunity to look up. It is a time to take the attention off ourselves and ask God what He is up to. He is in control. He does have a plan and He does have His way of doing things. He has a purpose in this wake up call we define as a natural disaster.
Certainly it is a time to seek God, and secondly, it is an opportunity to serve people. Basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter are wanting. God’s people have the prime time chance to shine for Jesus. Natural disasters are gargantuan ministry opportunities. Life is passing by for some. They are naked, bleeding, and hungry. Their friends and family have perished before their very eyes. There is a hurt, hunger, and displacement that most cannot understand. The window is open to act. In the name of Jesus, we can and will rebuild.
We can rebuild homes, schools, churches, businesses, and most importantly, lives. Cities are a shell of their former glory. Sin has been squeezed out of them like the ringing of a dirty dishrag. Saints know their hope is eternal, but they still struggle with their loss. A natural disaster is evidence of the destructive power of our Creator. He is not a passive spectator, rather an engaged and patient heavenly Father. He cannot and will not be ignored. This is the time to bow before Him in confession, repentance and worship.
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45b).
We can certainly pray for those caught in catastrophic calamity. Pray for God’s comfort and provision. Pray for God’s healing and mercy. Pray for God’s presence to permeate callous hearts, and pray for His love to draw others to Himself. Pray for people to ask God for forgiveness. Pray that we all would walk in humility with God, instead of indifference toward God. Pray that this time of brokenness will bring us all closer to God.
Indeed, we can pray and we can pay. We can give to our churches to help rebuild churches. We can give to ministries that provide food, clothing and shelter. We can house those who have relocated to our cities in need of friends and a roof over their heads. We can facilitate their dignity by helping with job opportunities, networking and training.
Life cannot go on as usual. We need to ask ourselves what our role can be. Everyone doing a little accomplishes a whole lot. A natural disaster can lead to a supernatural revival. We can experience a revival of awareness and worship of God. We can witness Jesus in action through love and service to our fellow man. We can use this pause in life to reevaluate our own priorities and recalibrate them with more eternal significance.
A natural disaster should lead us to a supernatural sense of God’s wonder. The Lord is large and in charge. Let’s not stay mad or sad. Let’s be glad we serve a risen Savior who’s in the world today. He is here to walk with us through the flood, famine and fire. God is with us. He is here. He cares and He is drawing mankind to Himself!
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a).
Prayer: During a natural disaster, how can I be a conduit for Christ’s supernatural resources?
Related Readings: Psalm 82:5; Isaiah 24:19; Acts 16:26; Revelation 6:13