I thought I’d take a moment to share with you some of the thoughts rolling through my head concerning this horrific hurricane.
It’s easy for me to ignore the situation when I’m 1,200 miles away from the chaos. But, then again, am I really 1,200 miles away?
One of the most powerful questions of life is simply, what if that happened to me?
It helps me realize that, although I pray I’m far away from a storm, I can’t take my life for granted.
But, for some of us, there remains a question: why does God allow bad things to happen to “good” people?
I believe this is one of the most commonly-asked questions about God. In fact, I wonder how many people refuse Christianity by doubting God’s good nature.
Is God really good? Well, I certainly believe He is.
One of my favorite quotes comes from C.S. Lewis, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
You and I are made for eternity. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “…He [God] has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (NLT).
Therefore, the most important aspect of human existence is not the life one lives on earth; rather, it’s the life one will live for eternity. And the Bible is clear when it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NLT).
Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (NLT, emphasis added). Merely “good” people don’t go to Heaven. Every religion doesn’t lead to the same God. There is one way to God, and His name is Jesus.
So “…your real life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 NLT, emphasis added). Consequently, you’re on this earth to prepare yourself and others for eternity.
God has deployed you to a war called life. In this war, you face many battles.
Jesus says, “‘I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world’” (John 16:33 NLT, emphasis added).
The war has already been won by Christ’s victory on the cross. Now, you and I are deployed to defend our faith against the enemy who won’t lay down his weapon. Additionally, we’re deployed to lend a hand to our struggling comrades.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT, emphasis added).
As you know, war isn’t comfortable. It’s full of suffering, trials, and hurricanes. But it’s war—it’s life. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. When it comes down to it, we’re not made to live a perfect life on this earth. Instead, we’re made to be prepared for an eternal life with Jesus.
“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10 NLT, emphasis added).
Here’s what I’m saying: Although I believe God wants you to enjoy life, He doesn’t promise that everything in this war is good. But He certainly promises a beautiful life upon your arrival into eternity—that is, if you know His Son, Jesus Christ. As I said, we’re on this earth to prepare ourselves and others for real life—Heaven.
Sometimes, this preparation comes best through suffering.
Have you ever found someone who usually has nothing to do with God asking for prayer?
It's like disaster strikes in his or her life, and hope comes alive. It's so easy for us to hope in politics, world news, and blessings until something threatens to take it all away.
I love the story found in Matthew, chapter 8.
Jesus and His disciples are in a boat, crossing a lake. Verse 24 says, “Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.”
I bet you can't guess what the disciples do? They wake up the One who claims to be the Son of God. He wakes up, rebukes the wind and waves, and the lake becomes calm.
But I wonder…
When Christ isn't in your boat, where do you put your hope?
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary” (Hebrews 6:19 NLT).
Is your boat drifting? Maybe it's because you're placing an anchor in this world.
When's the last time you anchored your life on Jesus?
After all, no storm can sever Jesus from your soul.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39 NLT, emphasis added).
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a storm to prepare us for eternity.
Many have come running to God this past week from Hurricane Harvey. Sunday has been declared a “National Day of Prayer.” Why? God is our only hope. When everything else is lost, Jesus remains. So here’s my question: why not stay close to Jesus at all times?
I pray for comfort, peace, and protection among all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey. And I pray that no such disaster ever falls upon anyone again. I certainly desire all people to enjoy this life on earth! But I just wonder how many have prepared for eternity this week. After all, that’s the main reason why we’re walking through this temporary world.
Prepare for the storm instead of needing a storm to prepare you.