Monday, January 10, 2005
This is a variation and expansion of a comment I left over on my pastor's blog. There is a difference between an "act of judgement" and a "God-ordained event". The Flood was a judgement by God on the sinfulness of the world. 9/11 was an act of evil that God permitted to occur (some Religious Right pundits notwithstanding). The tsunami was an act of nature that God permitted to occur. God foreordained each of those events, knew about them in advance, knew before the beginning of time the names of the people killed and the children orphaned. He also knew whether or not they were going to choose Heaven or Hell, either as a result of the hearing Gospel or along the lines Paul laid out in Romans 2. God will condemn those whom He will, and will show mercy to those whom He will. In my view, 9/11 was not a judgement. It was a blessing. The hijacked airplanes were nearly empty. So were the buildings. Many people escaped before the towers collapsed. The nation was drawn back to its knees, and awakened to the terrible danger of radical Islamism. As a direct result of 9/11, millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq who were opressed are now tasting freedom. The Gospel is being proclaimed in nations that were closed. That doesn't mean we're airdropping Chick tracts. Christian soldiers and sailors are bearing living witness to the Gospel daily in their interactions with the people of those nations. God is being glorified. In the terrible aftermath of the tsunami, millions of people are seeing the compassion of Christians (and of non-Christians; let's be fair) as billions of dollars in aid comes in. Further, millions may be led to consider that their lives could be snuffed out in an instant as a sunny vacation turns in seconds to chaotic watery death. Who can tell how many will reconsider what "those crazy Christians" have been saying about a God who provides salvation from sin, if not from tsunamis? In the end, God WILL be glorified.