It’s become inevitable, really. Every time there’s a major storm or tragedy that sweeps through our nation, certain Christians and so-called “prophets” waste no time in declaring that God is bringing judgment upon our country or the specific people affected by the events. While the body of Christ should be focusing their energy on sending out resources (money, supplies, water, etc.), mourning with those who mourn, and weeping with those who weep, some will always find it more important to use the latest tragedy as a way to prove their theological belief that their sovereign God is “in complete control.”
To be clear, I absolutely believe that God is sovereign. He is above all things and has the ultimate power and authority to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. I strongly reject the idea though, that God is orchestrating every single event that transpires in our world, especially when it goes against His nature as revealed in Christ.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is “the exact representation of His nature.” Throughout the gospels, we see the religious Jews quoting Old Testament scripture (thinking that because they memorized scripture, they knew God) and Jesus then having to correct them because they totally misinterpreted the true heart behind the text. Jesus not only came to provide forgiveness of sins, but He also came to reveal what the Father is really like. The veil has been torn, and we no longer have to guess what God’s heart is as we read through Old Testament passages. As Bill Johnson says, “Jesus Christ is perfect theology.”
Now, if we look closely at the life of Jesus as it relates to natural disasters and tragedies, then we see that He was always in opposition to these things. Jesus went about healing all who were sick and afflicted. And when Jesus was on the boat sleeping in the midst of a storm, He didn’t wake up and explain to His disciples that His Father sent the storm as judgment. Quite the opposite, actually. Jesus woke up and rebuked the storm, saying “Peace, be still.”
God did not send the storm!
In John 5:19, Jesus says that he “only does what He sees his Father doing… whatever the Father does, the Son does also.” If we claim that God sends storms and tragedies as a way to bring judgment or to teach us a lesson, then we must also be consistent and claim that Jesus was in opposition to the Father. In only doing what He saw the Father doing, Jesus calmed the storm. If it’s true that God sent this storm, then Jesus would have actually been acting in opposition to the Father by calming the same storm He sent.
We live in a fallen world that is going to have natural disasters until God’s kingdom has fully advanced throughout the earth and is fully realized at the final return of Christ. As Romans 8 tells us, “the whole earth groans, and as believers, we also groan as we eagerly await redemption.”
It’s time for the body of Christ to start showing the world how good our Father is. It’s His kindness that leads men to repentance, not judgment (or sickness, tragedy, punishment, etc.). When storms and tragedies do come, let’s rise up and show the world that our Father is not the author of death, but of life. He is the not the God who causes storms, but He is the God who sleeps through them. He is not the God who orchestrates storms, but He is the God who calms them.
Written by: Nate Ebel