Disaster

District Fellowship News

May, June 2007



JUST recently in the news we read of the wanton destruction of some of the most beautiful and natural areas of the earth. Nature had outdone itself in creating an environment where a plethora of species lived symbiotically, untouched by the hand of man, and then suddenly destruction. Was it an oil spill contaminating an area of shoreline and wildlife habitat? Was it an expansion of urban sprawl that overran the natural beauty? Was it garbage buried or sunk that desecrated this hallowed site? Was it a nuclear accident, greenhouse gasses, the stupidity of man? No, humanity wasn’t the villain. Nothing man did could have caused this blight, and nothing man did could have stopped it. You see, the villain was nature itself.

The event...an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale in the Pacific Ocean.
The result...the island of Ranongga was thrust 10 feet further into the sky exposing the submerged coral reefs that had once attracted divers from all over the world to enjoy and study the pristine environment that was home to myriads of species. That coral was now exposed to the elements, bleaching and dying, while the other species that had called it home were dead or now without shelter. A tragedy of great magnitude, but a reality check for us as well.

You and I must realize that we do not control the world. Nature is not at our beck and call. No matter how hard we try, we cannot control an earthquake, we can’t stop the tsunami that followed and we certainly cannot raise the sea level or lower the island of Ranongga to save the reef. Mankind over the years has tried to control nature and had very limited success. Truthfully we are not even very good at just predicting what will happen next. There is only one who  has been able to control storms, who can move mountains, and if needed (only once so far) even can destroy the world. And He is the One who created this world in the first place.

“In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. For He founded it upon the sea and established it upon the waters.” (Psalms 24:1)

If you remember the story in the Gospels of the trip across the Sea of Galilee, you will realize that man could not do anything to control the blowing wind or the waves that were rising around the boat, it was only Jesus who could still the wind with His voice, who could command the storm to end. Man has tried throughout the centuries to control nature. And still today we talk about fixing the climate, causing rain, stopping earthquakes, and yet the truth is we have not had much effect on the earth. Of course, we are constantly hearing about man as the cause for global catastrophe, and we certainly do have a responsibility especially as Christians to be good stewards of the resources and environment that God has provided for us. In the second chapter of Genesis, God gave Adam the responsibility to look after and take care of the land in which he lived and I do not believe that the mandate has changed today. We still must use the wealth of the land wisely. But in our finger pointing and name calling we must be careful not to overstate our importance. Yes, we have an impact but we are certainly not in control.

So, the real question is what do we have control over and what is out of our hands? If you are thinking in secular terms, man should be able to figure out what to do about everything and control all that exists. So it is our fault if anything goes wrong. But this way of thinking denies that there was a designer who built the world from the smallest quantum systems to the large global ones, interdependent, interconnected, and so complex that we cannot begin to truly understand them at this point. When catastrophe strikes, we must realize that our response must be compassion, helping those in need. We must do everything we can do to take care of our world, and then hardest of all realize that we are not the masters of nature, but that we can surely know the One who is.