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IEA Devo 2020 disasters • Becoming a Disciple-Maker

Natural Disasters – The Disciple-Making Lifestyle

“…In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


Part One

As we study God’s word – catastrophes like droughts, epidemics, and natural disasters will become understandable. Jesus said, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet…there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places…” (Matthew 24:6-8).

Heaven’s eternal plans reach far beyond our limited personal – experience. The Bible describes both cosmic spiritual warfare and the universal origin of evil. It is explained that, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)


Part Two

While the earth is definitely the Lord’s (see Psalm 24:1) it is also important to realize that during this temporary period, mankind’s already defeated enemy still possesses destructive cosmic power. Remember the demonic legion’s question – “…Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29)

The Bible alone explains the ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil. This all-encompassing conflict greatly challenges the depth of our human understanding! Think about the universal turbulence described by Paul, “…the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22) From the time of Adam and Eve’s sin until our day, creation has been trapped in its current imperfection. This imperfect era will continue until the Lord’s return, and when He chooses, there will be a new heaven and a new earth (see Isaiah 65:17).


Part Three

We are reminded that – “…Satan, is the mighty prince of the power of the air…” (Ephesians 2:2) Because of his capacity, the world’s many tragedies caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, and tsunamis are consistent with his destructive fallen nature. In contrast, pause to quietly consider this beautiful reality. The Lord Jesus never once caused a storm – He only calmed them!

As further background, consider the incarnate nature of God. He arrived among us as Immanuel (see Matthew 1:23) and not once did He use His power to inflict pain on anyone. Instead He chose to sacrificially die – in pain on a cross for us! While suffering, He even asked His Father to forgive us! Why, because as sinners, we were far too blind to understand what He was actually doing. This is why in His prayer He stated, “…they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34)


Part Four

Pause to reflect – apart from God’s intended times of judgment, would it not be utterly out of character for Him to create – storms, earthquakes, and destructive physical forces designed to hurt the very same humanity that He lovingly sent His Son to redeem?

Yes, we have currents, tides, and seasons but behind all of them – are the “beginning” and the “end,” which God fully controls! The Bible beautifully explains His redemptive purpose,

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)

The scope of God’s love and eternal planning includes both the world’s physical and spiritual dimensions. To truly understand this, quietly consider – His nature!


Part Five

Understandably, Satan seeks to keep his activity out of mankind’s thinking. He wants us to blame God for his evil influence and destructive deeds. This is especially true when it comes to – wars, crime, and all forms of human abuse. In addition, he wants us to even mistakenly blame our Creator for everything from wind shears to tornadoes. In actual fact, when the Lord Jesus was here – He quietly spoke and immediately calmed the weather. This is when His disciples realized that, “…even the wind and the waves obey Him!” (Mark 4:41)

With weather in mind, let’s think historically, “Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind on the land…” (Exodus 10:13) Some very strong winds have definitely been sent by God to fulfill His intended judgement. However, He has also used wind for His people’s protection (see Exodus 14:21). We should therefore request His specific will concerning the weather and remember that nature’s current dangers are only temporary.


Part Six

Significantly, mankind’s suffering experienced through nature is the continuing result of Adam and Eve’s original disobedience. Our once tranquil earthly environment became hard and challenging after their sin (See Genesis 3). However, in ways that we little understand, evil began much earlier than in Eden. Its potentially negative influence started when Jesus, “saw him [Satan] fall from heaven like lightening” (See Luke 10:18) Why did this occur? Because Satan chose to tragically rebel and misuse his God-given – freewill!

Since neither Satan’s freewill nor ours have been rescinded, everything which Jesus described about heaven’s wheat and Satan’s weeds is still in the process of – taking place (See Matthew 13). However, during history’s remaining years, a great multitude of new believers will still be placing their faith in Christ (see Matthew 24:14)!


Part Seven

God alone understands the ultimate purpose of His universe. Every eternal reason and even the understanding of His goodness solely reside in Him. This includes the wonder of nature which He alone created. Think back to when the Lord Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me good?” Then He continued by explaining, “No one is good but One, and that is, God.” (Mark 10:18) Everything God does is – good. Why? Because of His holy and unchanging nature! The incarnation reflects the very essence of His Goodness.

Sadly, man’s ever-changing secular theories about the origin and activity of nature can only provide limited temporary answers. We may scientifically seek to discover “how” nature functions – but science cannot provide the reasons “why” behind the “how’s.” Nor can we comprehend nature’s – future transformation. For these profound realities, we can only rely on God. This is why we are called to live by faith in what He has already revealed and promised us!


By Billie Hanks Jr.


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