Coping With Natural Disasters
When calamities happen, many wonder why they occur. What does the Bible say about natural disasters? How can we be saved? And how can we find refuge in God?
Coping With Natural Disasters
Brother Mark Vasquez: Watching the news these days is different than watching the news before. All around the world, tragic events are happening more now than ever. Not only do we hear about terrible events that occur in the lives of many individuals, we could also learn more about and even see footage of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis — this is just to name a few.
Brother Mark Vasquez: These calamities that happen affect hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of people. How should we react to these catastrophic events? We asked some people who were at one time projected to face a great calamity. How should we recognize the calamities that are happening all around the world? And what is the solution to these catastrophic storms that we face now?
Brother Mark Vasquez: How did you react when you heard that there was going to be a disaster coming our way or a natural calamity coming our way?
Interviewee#1: Well, I actually didn’t know about it until three days before, so I guess I didn’t have a huge reaction at first. And then, as soon as everyone started leaving, we took off.
Interviewee#2: I mean, I’d been through a couple hurricanes before, so I was not too worried. But then when it got to the category five, category four that was kind of uncharted territory for me, so I was a little nervous.
Interviewee#3: I think it’s better to be overprepared than underprepared. A lot of people were just blowing it off. I went and stayed at a friend’s house and he hadn’t prepared at all.
Interviewee#4: I know a lot of people — since we’re in Florida, we see storms happen a lot — they take it as a joke. And so I think it’s important to make sure you take the precautions that they put out there.
Interviewee#5: You got to be prepared, just for everything as much as you can. Just try to be prepared.
Interviewee#3: They’re underwhelmed by the whole experience. I was, “No, we need to be prepared. It’s better to have a lot of stuff and not need it than have nothing and need it.”
Brother Mark Vasquez: Why do you think storms happen — in your personal experience and your own beliefs — why do you think storms like this happen?
Interviewee#6: I don’t know, I mean, there’s a science behind it, you know, the meteorology.
Interviewee#1: I guess just environment, how we’re living right now with all the smoking and the gases and everything going up — it’s messing with everything.
Interviewee#2: But natural disasters I think kind of comes from the idea the world isn’t perfect, you know. And we live in a broken, fallen state.
Interviewee#7: I think God created a perfect world and then we brought sin into it and so, that made just the whole world go wrong and so, I think we’re living with the effects of that.
Interviewee#2: This world itself is not perfect, so things like natural disasters, catastrophic events are things, you know, we can’t plan for. And they’re just a result of us not having this perfect life or perfect world that we might seem to think that we have.
Interviewee#7: And I think sometimes God keeps these things from happening but sometimes He allows them for His purpose and sometimes you don’t know exactly what that purpose is. But in the end, it all glorifies Him somehow.
Brother Mark Vasquez: The natural reaction of many people after seeing catastrophic storms and natural disasters on the news is fear and anxiety, especially if one lives in an area that is more likely to be affected by such an event. Some people feel completely helpless of the thought of such an event. What is the right way to react to any natural disaster that might be happening? And what should we do since the number of calamities like this is increasing? It’s best that we view these events in the perspective, the way, God wants us to.
Why does God allow these kinds of calamities to happen?
Let’s read that here in Isaiah. We’ll keep reading 24. This time we’ll read 5 down to 6.
The people have defiled the earth by breaking God’s laws and by violating the covenant he made to last forever. So God has pronounced a curse on the earth. Its people are paying for what they have done. Fewer and fewer remain alive.
[Isaiah 24: 5-6 Today’s English Version]
Brother Mark Vasquez: Why is it that God allows devastation to be experienced by mankind? Because people have defiled the earth by breaking God’s laws. What is the consequence of this? The Bible told us, “So God has pronounced a curse on the earth.” God is well aware of the natural disasters that happen around the world. We need to understand, though, is that God allows these calamities to happen. This is a punishment from God because of the evil of mankind. The disasters that we see are powerful. The consequences of these events can cause the victims much pain. But this devastation that people experience today is nothing compared to the greatest destruction that God will bring upon all people.
What is the greatest destruction that people would experience? Let’s read that in II Peter. We’ll read 3:7 and we’ll also read 10.
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
[II Peter 3:7 & 10 New King James Version]
Brother Mark Vasquez: What is the greatest destruction that people would experience? The Bible teaches us that there is a Day of Judgment. What will happen on that day? The elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Although there are natural disasters and catastrophic events that are happening in the world today, we should remember that there’s a day that will be more destructive than any calamity that has ever happened on the earth. That on the Day of Judgment, everything will be burned up. There is a Day of Judgment, but we should not be tempted to think that God created mankind just for us to be destroyed. Why not? Let’s ask the Bible. Does God want us to be destroyed? We’ll read in Ezekiel, 18, and we’ll read verse 32. It says this:
For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!”
[Ezekiel 18:32 New King James Version]
Brother Mark Vasquez: Does God want us to be destroyed? No, God wants us to live. He said, “…I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies…Therefore turn and live!” It doesn’t make God happy when others become victims of catastrophic events like great storms or earthquakes. What we should notice and hold on to is that there’s hope and a way to be safe from the greatest devastation that is to come. How can we have that hope? We should turn to the Lord God and live. What is the proper way to turn to the Lord God and live? Let’s read that in Jeremiah. We’ll read 6:16
Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it.”
[Jeremiah 6:16 New King James Version]
Brother Mark Vasquez: How can we turn to the Lord God to live and be saved from the ultimate devastation? The Lord God is advising us to find the good way and we should walk in. There’s a common assumption these days amongst people that the way to avoid devastation and turn to God is however a person prefers and wants to, quote, “create a relationship with God.” Let’s listen to how the Bible describes the good way which is also the way to turn to God. We’ll read that in Matthew. We’ll read 7:13 and we’ll also read verse 14. This is what it says:
Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad and the gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.
[Matthew 7:13-14 Living Bible]
Brother Mark Vasquez: How does the Bible describe the good way for us to walk in, which would save us from eternal devastation? The Bible says, “Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! …the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” Dear friends, we need to make sure that we are also walking on this narrow path that would save us from this ultimate destruction.
It’s true that disasters can sometimes be predicted ahead of time for some catastrophic events. There’s time to prepare homes and families. Many organizations, including the government, can even assist us if these things are projected to affect us. God is now speaking to us to prepare us for the greatest destruction to happen. And what is that? We need to prepare for the Day of Judgment. We should walk through the narrow gate. The way to enter the narrow gate is explained by the One who will save us on the Day of Judgement. Let’s ask the Lord Jesus. What is the way for us to be saved? Let’s read in John 10:9. This is what is written:
I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe…
[John 10:9 Revised English Bible]
Brother Mark Vasquez: What is the way for us to be saved? The Lord Jesus Christ reminded us that He is the door. What did He say? He said, “Anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe…” If any person wants to be saved from eternal destruction, he or she must enter the Lord Jesus Christ by going into the fold, or flock. Which is the fold or flock that we should enter in in order for us to be safe? Let’s read that in Acts 20 and we’ll read in 28.
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.
[Acts 20:28 George Lamsa Translation]
Brother Mark Vasquez: Which is a flock? The apostles teach us that the Church Of Christ is the flock. The Church Of Christ is that which one should go into or become a member of, in order to enter or belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Members of the Church Of Christ will be saved from the eternal destruction that will come upon the whole world. I would like to bring to the attention of our friends who are watching that we are not teaching that if one becomes a member of the Church Of Christ, he or she will completely eliminate the chances of any calamity of devastation happening in our lives. It may be that we will still hear and witness disasters happening throughout the world. But what is important to know is, although we might be limited in how we prepare for calamities and disasters, there is a solution to avoid the greatest disaster that is to come on the Day of Judgment.
The solution to be saved from the ultimate destruction is to join the Church Of Christ.
Please visit us and join us for worship in the Church Of Christ. Learn more about what the Bible teaches for us to be saved and how we can live a life full of God’s blessings. Thank you for joining us on The Solution. We’ll see you next time.