Thinkin’ about Ya, Irene
by Cindy Tutsch
How do you wait for a hurricane? I’d asked God for protection, bought supplies, purchased, baked or boiled the requisite food to potentially last several days, filled the bathtub with water, checked my flashlights. Then I closed my windows, crawled into bed, and slept peacefully.
In the morning, branches, leaves and a fallen tree or two littered the neighborhood, but my electricity was still on (buried cables). I took an early walk through my usual haunts, now eerily devoid of cyclists, joggers, and dog-walkers. Everything was still — even the birds were silent. It was a great time to walk and talk with God, praise Him for safety and the beauty of the morning, and reflect on the times in which we live.
The March 28, 2011 cover of Newsweek shouts, Apocalypse Now: Tsunamis. Earthquakes. Nuclear Meltdowns. Revolutions. Economies on the Brink. What the #@%! Is Next?
As Christians, we know what is next. More disasters, one following the other with rapid succession (Matthew 24), a loss of religious liberty (Revelation 13) and a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation (Daniel 12:1). And then? And then?
And then, angels will fill up every inch of the sky. Heaven’s trumpets will sound, the dead will rise, and best of all, we will see Jesus! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! We’ve sung about Him, prayed to Him, written books about Him, drawn pictures of Him — but now we will see Him, face to face! What a day that will be! I want more than anything to meet Him with joy, with my family, with my friends, with my neighbors.
So, in the meantime, who is causing all these calamities? Is it God, bringing judgments on a planet that has largely rejected Him? I don’t believe these disasters are caused by God, though judgments may occur when God removes His protection.
Here is an intriguing passage from the book, The Great Controversy:
“Satan works through the elements [the weather] also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses and children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God who shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them."
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he [Satan] will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. "The earth mourneth and fadeth away," "the haughty people…do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." Isaiah 24:4, 5.
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils.” –The Great Controversy, 589,590
There’s more and I invite you to read the entire chapter 36, titled The Impending Conflict, in The Great Controversy, which can be accessed here online.
If these ideas are new to you, I encourage you to approach them with an open mind. If these ideas are not new to you, but you have rejected them long ago, I invite you to re-consider, as we see the biblical prophecies fulfilling before our very eyes. And if these ideas are part of the fabric of who you are, determine by God’s grace to be faithful to Him, whatever the price.
I should add, if you are new to this site, do not be surprised at some of the reaction to this blog. Last Sunday, CNN Belief blogger Stephen Protherd wrote, “American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of some coming apocalypse…and those that do, we generally regard as cranks and outliers — relics of a bygone age.”
Peter warned the believers of his time that such skepticism would exist:
“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’ They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” from 2 Peter 3 NLT
How do you wait for a hurricane? Prepare, and trust. How do you wait for the coming of Jesus? Prepare your heart and trust in your Savior. Here’s one of my absolute favorite texts regarding The Wait:
“Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for He is faithful.” I Corinthians 1:7-9 NLT
Oh, we may lose our earthly lives. There is no promise we will remain alive until Jesus comes. But our eternal lives are safe, if we accept Him as Lord of all our heart. (I John 5:13) And really, eternity is what matters most. This world, sick as it is, will soon pass away. The good news remains: pain and heartache cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven.
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!