In these recent months we have seen all that is scary to us. The destructive locust swarms have swept through the eastern and north-eastern part of Kenya and yet still threaten to go towards western Kenya - something that the locals fear with tightened stomachs. There is the Corona virus which has by now infected over 800 people and killed over 40 people. And then there is the warning of an alleged terror attack by Al-shabbab targeting one of the five-star hotels in Nairobi. These are horrifying things to think about, and yes, we are living in a terrifying world.
The question that usually lingers in the mind of many in times like this is, “How do I avoid being a victim of the locust invasion, the Corona virus, or a terror attack? Indeed, the question on how to avoid all this turmoil is essential, but still, answering that question instills fear within and inmost cases this escalates to paranoia. The more important question to ask would be, “Where is the source or the cause of these predicaments?” A good scientist will say, “Know the cause, know the cure.” Getting to the root of the matter is finding the cause of that matter, then uprooting the thing by its root. What is the source of the locusts, the Corona virus, the men and women who have sold themselves to terrorism? The answer is simple and yet complex in nature. These things are a consequence of the current order of the universe, that is, the source is the fallen nature of the universe itself. But who has subjected it thus? God has. The Apostle Paul declares,
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God.” (Rom 8:19-21, ESV).
God didn't just create things and leave them there without control, or to their self-determination. God is the one who holds all that is on earth and in the heavens by the word of his power (Hebrews. 1:3). He sustains everything in the sky and on earth (2 Peter 3:7). God keeps the clouds and sends forth thunder (Job 38:33-37). God feeds the hungry young lions (Psalms 104:21) and even the birds in the air (Matthew 10:28-30). If humankind is the best of His creation (Genesis 1:25-26), and He has given us everything He created (Genesis 9:3), how much more will He take care of us? God also directs all that is on earth and in heaven. He makes sure everything on earth works by his command and obeys his word (Mark 4:41). He commands even that single insect to do his will, and it obeys (Isaiah 7:18). He also sends them in swarms, and they do as he pleases (Psalms 78:45; 105 35). It is God who gave everything life, and He is the only one who can take life from them (1 Samuel 2:6). And as long as the earth remains, everything including plants, seasons and animals will continue to exist because God has promised so (Genesis 8:22).
Take a look at the lives of some individuals in Scripture who experienced this first-hand and pay attention to the words of God concerning them:
Observations from these examples: God indeed can bring calamity to men as means of judgment just as he declares in Isaiah 45:7, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things”, and in Amos 3:6, “…does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” Yet in the above-mentioned examples we see God using calamities and suffering to His glory and not as a condemnation of sin. They are indeed images of the curse that is upon the earth and yet at the same time are used to the glory of God. Understand that God does no evil (Lev 19:2; Job 34:12 Hab1:13; Eph 5:5-6; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 1:5, 3:3, to name a few), but He will use those things that seem or are evil to His glory. It is a difficult thing to come to terms with but this is how God has revealed Himself in Scripture.
God has always used His creation to make a point to the people of the earth. He uses all that He created because they are His, He is more powerful than they, and so He can do with them as He pleases. The best example is when God brought locust to Egypt when pharaoh refused to let the children of Israel go (Ex 10:4). He not only brought locusts to the Egyptians but also frogs and other pestilences. The question shouldn't be whether God causes, knows and determines all that happens. The question should be, how are we to respond when things are as ugly as they are now? By saying God is the one who orchestrated all things to happen, it does not mean that he does them from a selfish point of view. God is not an egocentric, narcissistic sadist whose intention is to enjoy seeing humankind in pain. God, by nature, is good (Matthew 19:17), God is loving (John 3:16). And we know that God works all things together for good to all those who love Him. All things include even the horrible situations we are facing today. God is working the locust invasion, the Corona virus pandemic and also the terror threats good to those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Think of God as a movie writer and director. He puts all those horrible, tragic scenes in the movie building up to a more beautiful breath-taking moments at the end of the film. We know the end of the movie God has written and is directing. We are spectators and benefactors of the beautiful ending that is to come. The glorious moment when we will be complete as Christ, perfect without blemish. When we will gain that holiness — without which no one can see God. How do we make sense of these? God uses His creation to show us the sinfulness of sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, not only did their actions affect man but the entire creation as well. The creation is groaning waiting for that day when all will be made perfect again. Whenever God sends natural disasters, they should remind us of how bad sin is and how we should eagerly await the coming of the Messiah when all things will be made new (Romans 8:7-12).
God shows us His mercy and enduring patience towards us through these natural disasters. Remember, sin is not sin if it does not go against the only true God. One sin is reason enough to justify God to wipe out the earth and all that is in it, for God is holy and eternal, and so going against the holy and eternal one will require an eternal punishment (Dan 12:2; Matt 25:41, 46; 2 Thess 1:9; Rev 20:10). But, because of His new mercies every morning, He reminds us of His divine, justified and holy wrath. He does so through illnesses for our purity; He strikes those whom He loves to keep them from sin. He does this as a father would do to his child who he loves (Prov 3:12; Heb 12:5-11). God does punish those He loves (Hebrew 12:6). He did it with the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:29-32). He can and will do it to you and me when we disobey him. All natural disasters are a thunderclap of divine mercy (Luke 13:1-5). Remember, He does so because He loves us, and He is purifying us.
Lastly, God brings all these predicaments as a judgment upon those who reject Him and give themselves to sin. Herod exhorted himself before the people of Jerusalem to the point that the people exclaimed that Herod talked like a god. God struck him down because he did not give God the glory (Acts. 12:23, Romans 1:27). During Noah's time God wiped out the wicked people by a massive flood, one that the earth has never seen and will never see (Genesis 6:6). When Sodom and Gomorrah practiced all kinds of sinfulness (Genesis 9:23-25), He poured down fire and burnt the entire city.
In all these, God has caused the most glorious of things to us. He has caused us to be born again (1 Peter 1:3). We are born of God, and so we believe because now we can see God with unveiled faces. He has given us the right to be called the children of God (John 1:12-13). Are you a child of God? God created you, sustains and directs you. He is the one who is calling out to you by name. Believe in His Son Jesus Christ today, and you will be saved. Regardless of the situation, the locusts or the Corona virus, we are in Him and we wait on Him. We wait for the day He will come and take away this mortal body and give us the immortal, one that will never get sick, tired, hungry, angry or be in fear but always in awe of who God is. That is our end.
By Guest Contributor.