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Where is God in flood, fire and death (11/18/2007)
From: Jamie Smith

Did you see Joel and Victoria Osteen on Hannity and Colmes? They were on to give hope to those affected by the California fires. Mr. Colmes asked Victoria, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Well, Joel and Victoria were like deer in headlights. Finally, Victoria said something like, "These fires are natural disasters. We have a good God. Let's not get negative." Joel sat silent as his fetching wife twisted in the wind before a large national audience.

I listened to some of the local preachers on the radio during our flood disaster. They had a similar approach: "God didn't cause the flood." "He is not trying to test you." "I don't know why these things happen."

It seemed our clergy, even the ones with the largest congregation in the U.S., were trying to defend God so that He would be disconnected in some way from these natural disasters. That approach doesn't comfort. It just causes further doubt and adds more trepidation concerning the future. We need the truth before doubts give way to confidence and recovery.

I've been through flood, fire and death. The fatigue, loneliness and heartbreaking sorrow. The standing and staring not knowing how to proceed next. The damage. The smell. The second guessing. All are made worse when the question "Why, God?" goes unanswered.

Rom. 8:20: "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected [the same] in hope (expectation)," We have been unwillingly subjected to this difficult and temporary existence. We did not ask for this. It was put upon us against our will, but our subjection is by God with a glorious expectation.

Rom. 8:21: "that the creation itself, also, shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Our sure expectation is that the entire creation (that's all mankind included) will be freed from sin and death into the freedom of the children of God. Indeed, this is the gospel that should be declared in all churches.

Rom. 8:22: "For we are aware that the entire creation is groaning and travailing together until now." The pain and sorrow caused by our flood is the groaning and travailing spoken of here. It is cried out by believers and unbelievers alike.

Ecl. 1:1: "...it is an experience of evil Elohim (God) has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it." There is no escape. There is no way out. Not for anyone. We are unwilling participants in this tragedy. However, the sufferings endured now are but a drop compared to the ocean of endless blessing that will be gratuitously bestowed on all humanity.

We are all in this together. This existence is temporary. Each will be given endless life through no personal merit. There is nothing to do to earn it. There is nothing that can be done to lose it. These truths will comfort during disaster, sorrow and uncertainty. If the above is not believed, then I guess Victoria Osteen's words are an available option.



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