Slighting Israel at the
expense of Katrina’s victims.
Despite Katrina’s massive
devastation, conniving diplomacy was the order of the day. US
Officials acknowledged that Israel was one of the first
countries to offer aid. But they said the administration, which
has highlighted offers of aid from Islamic governments as well
as American Arab and Muslim groups, asked Israel to postpone
sending aid until a later stage.
The United States tried to avoid
any mention of Israeli participation in the international aid.
“At one point, the administration signaled that it would accept
Israeli help, but preferred that it be as part of a mission
organized by the American Jewish community,” an official said.
Glimmers of God’s Image
Calamities reveal the best and
worst in man—the good and the evil. A six-year old girl told how
a rescuer, hanging from a helicopter line, chopped through roof
and whisked her away. Will never see her hero again? There were
thousands of heroes, many without a personal relationship with
Christ. This raises the question. Where will these sacrificing,
concerned, unbelieving heroes spend eternity?
Then there was evil. The heavens
declare the glory of God, but the streets reveal the wickedness
of man. There was violence, theft, rape and murder—even some
police looting. Calamities bring out the worst in man. The main
problem in the world is not Mother Nature, but human nature.
Remove law enforcement, and are real self is revealed. We are
sinful to the core.
All were born with a “me-first
mentality.” You don't have to teach your children to argue. They
don't have to be trained to demand their way. You don’t have to
show them how to stomp their feet and pout, it is their nature…
indeed the “me-first mentality” is the natural disposition of
all of us. This is why Jesus “tasted death for every man.” We
all need a savior to save us from our sins.
Not “where was God?”
But “what is wrong with man?”
Many ask, where was God?
Ridiculous! There are certain patterns of God’s nature we must
learn or suffer the consequences. We would never put our hand in
the cage of a lion, but we continually put thousands of lives in
the known path of hurricanes.
The same is true of earthquakes.
Californians dwell over a huge fault area hoping an earthquake
won’t happen in their lifetime. When that “BIG ONE” does strike,
you will hear the cry, “Where is God?” But it will be man’s
gamble and loss, not God’s.
‘Katrina’ first struck in
In 1719, a year after Jean-Baptiste
le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, established New Orleans as the
capital of the fledgling French colony of Louisiana, a hurricane
wiped out the handful of palmetto huts that comprised the city.
An engineer named Le Blond de la Tour begged Bienville to move
New Orleans to another spot—one that was not, say, five inches
below sea level between a powerful and unruly river and a
40-mile-wide lake; but Bienville refused. Two years later,
after they'd managed to build four whole blocks, another
hurricane came and wiped them out.
‘Rita’ first struck in 1900.
On September 8, 1900, a killer
hurricane struck the Texas coastal city of Galveston. This
hurricane would become the greatest natural disaster, by number
of deaths, in United States history: 8,000 by accepted figures,
perhaps as many as 12,000. Of that total, 6,000 perished in
Galveston alone. The tragedy killed more Americans than any
other natural disaster, indeed, more than the legendary
Johnstown Flood, the San Francisco Earthquake, the 1938 New
England Hurricane and the Great Chicago Fire combined.
The destructive paths of the
many hurricanes that followed rendered the whole Gulf Coast
vulnerable. Yet, industrial greed chose to dot the Gulf Coast
from New Orleans to Galveston with 25% of the US oil refineries.
True, it was convenient and economical, nevertheless, foolhardy.
Not to mention damage to the oil rigs in the Gulf, 22% of the
refineries were crippled. Gasoline prices rocketed. Home heating
fuel this winter is expected to be astronomical. Of course,
there is price gouging and many oil tycoons, including
Bible-believing Christians, are padding their pockets.
The US refuses to learn its
Since Bush’s first inauguration
in 2002, the US has opposed the efforts of world leaders to
restrict air pollution in order to combat global warming. This
year global warming increased the temperature of the Gulf waters
three degrees. This three-degree rise was enough to upgrade a
Category 2 hurricane to the killer power of a Category 4. Global
warming created the unprecedented devastating force of Katrina
It will take years of research
to find economical alternative sources of energy to counter the
worldwide oil shortage accentuated by Katrina and Rita. Remember
the oil crunch in 1973 with the mile-long lines of cars at every
gas station? President Carter had Congress enact a program to
research feasible alternative sources of energy. Whatever the
reasons, when Reagan became president, he terminated this
research project. How unfortunate! If Carter’s research project
had continued unimpeded, the worldwide energy crisis of today
could have been averted. (See box.)
Hurricane Patterns Ignored
In Florida, more than 13 million
people live in coastal counties, up from 200,000 a
century ago. As a result, all four of last year's
Florida hurricanes made the list of America's 10
most damaging storms ever.
For much of the 20th century, the
coastal areas were dominated by the poor and working
class. Wealthy and middle-class Americans did not
start moving there until the long lull after
Hurricane Camille in 1969, when there was a
In 1960, there were 180 people per
square mile in the coastal United States; by 1994,
there were 275 per square mile. A U.S.A. Today study
in 2000 found 1,000 year-round settlers arriving in
coastal counties each day. “Insurance companies were
underwriting coastal development with reckless
abandon.” “Developers overbuilt to their hearts'
Mississippi's coastal counties grow
three times as fast as any other county in the
state, a pattern found in many coastal states, and
fighting this trend is a lonely business.
Why God Permits Calamities?
To fully understand why God
permits evil—including calamities—we must go back, back to when
God dwelt alone. God desired a family, to be a parent—a father
or life-giver—The Heavenly Father. The most loving
parents are not overly protective; rather, they are willing to
permit hard knocks, realizing it will cost them dearly in pain
as they watch their children struggle to maturity.
God knew His children could only
be happy individually and collectively if each one loved and
obeyed His laws for the well being of all. Therefore, God
created Adam and Eve in “His own image”—having free will and
moral discernment. God could have programmed the ideal man and
utopia would have been inevitable, but man would be no better
than a robot, nor would he be happy. But free will has a
built-in dilemma. God told Adam that if he obeyed he would live.
If he disobeyed he would die—“dying thou shalt die” (Gen. 2:17).
Because of lack of experience, God knew Adam, or anyone of us,
A parent will tell a baby not to
touch the stove because it is hot. But what does a baby know
about pain? Inevitably, the baby will touch the stove. A wise
parent will lightly and quickly touch the child’s hand where the
heat is not too severe. Likewise, God is giving mankind a
controlled experience with sin.
Knowing man would disobey Him,
God planned for man’s redemption before He even created the
earth and man. First Peter 1:19-20 speaks of Jesus as “slain
before the foundation of the world.” God lovingly planned the
best for His future human children. This meant a plan that would
deeply grieve His fatherly heart as He watched man trampled down
into death by the machinations of evil while learning the
consequences of sin. Also, it would cost the ultimate in
fatherly suffering—watching His “only begotten son” suffer the
agony of being vilified and crucified. God’s gift of Jesus was
the greatest demonstration of fatherly suffering in history.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed, God
withdrew His fellowship. Loneliness, stress and depression
engulfed them. The latest scientific research confirms the
Biblical account of man’s “Fall” into sin. Loneliness, stress
and depression render both the mind and the body prone to
disease. Fear, hostility and aggressiveness became the norm.
Exploitation, crime and violence were the inevitable
consequences. The body’s immunity to disease soon broke down.
The dying process had begun. Yes, Adam’s children, the human
race, were born sinners (Psa. 51:5) worthy of death (Rom. 6:23).
This is “the sore travail God hath given to the sons of man to
be exercised therewith” (Eccl. 1:13; 3:10).
The Unfinished Earth and
Since Adam and Eve disobeyed,
mankind is learning by experience the bitter consequences of
moral sin and evil that results in death. Additionally, they
were cast out of their Edenic paradise into the unfinished
earth, where the components of nature were still unbalanced.
Here mankind has “toiled by the sweat of their brow” and are
subjected to sporadic upheavals of nature. Perhaps these
upheavals of nature are gradually preparing the earth to become
the Edenic paradise in the 1000-year Kingdom of God.
Often parents, who remand a
disobedient child to their room for the evening, have loving
thoughts of their continued relationship. God has remanded His
human children to their room—the unfinished earth. In their
affliction, He is afflicted and He has wonderful loving
thoughts—recorded in the Bible prophecies—concerning their
restoration to His favor. Yes, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:22,
“as in Adam all die,” but he continues, “so in Christ shall all
be made alive.” Why? Because Jesus died “a ransom for all” (1
Tim. 2:6 and Heb. 2:9).
A Suffering Savior and
But before all are made alive in
Christ’s Kingdom, God has been training Christians—a “little
flock” (Luke 12:32), by contrast with the billions of mankind.
Why? That they might reign with Christ in his Kingdom as priests
and kings (Rev. 20:6). Like Christ, they are being made
sympathetic priests through suffering (2 Tim. 2:11-12). The
minds of men are scarred and twisted by tragedy. Christians
experience the same disasters (1 Cor. 10:13), but by the power
of the holy Spirit are healed and made compassionate. Why?
They will be able to heal the
minds of their fellowman when mankind comes forth from the grave
(John 5:28-29, NASV) to their “judgment” (Greek Krisis,
denotes future probation) trial time in the Kingdom. Mankind
will have a vivid remembrance of the bitter effects of sin and
evil. Then they will learn the joyful rewards of living
righteously with their fellowman and make their choice for
eternity (Jer. 31:29-31, 34). Many scriptures reveal that the
majority of mankind will share the joys of eternal life.
God’s foreknowledge of His own
suffering in sharing mankind’s plight proves that the permission
of evil is a necessary experience for man’s eternal welfare.
God’s fatherly sorrow contains no anxiety like a human parent.
With Divine serenity, He knows the end from the beginning (Isa.
46:10). All the forces of evil are overruled for man’s eternal
welfare (Psa. 76:10). By faith we can have this same peace of
God (Phil. 4:7). The present sufferings are but a moment
compared with the joys of eternity (2 Cor. 4:17, 18).