Monday, April 7, 2014

Mother Nature or Father God?

Tornadoes continue to rip across the United States, the most recent ones touching down late last week.  This past winter, the United Kingdom has suffered more severe flooding than has been recorded in over two and a half centuries.  Even now, North America remains covered in the third highest recorded level of snow, with a blizzard slamming into the northwest only six days ago.

It seems every time I flip to a news page, I'm reading about one natural disaster or another.  Blizzards. Tornadoes.  Floods.  Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Tsunamis.

The media calls it "Mother Nature."

But as I listen to the loud rumblings and watch the narrow slivers of light from another thunderstorm shaking across our hay fields this evening, I know better. 

"Mother Nature" is not the supernatural force beyond our control.  We have not offended "Mother Earth" with the way we have polluted the land.  As Christian writer and speaker Kay Arthur is so fond of saying, "It's not Mother Nature; it's Father God."

And yet, an act of God's judgment is not how the world perceives what some media outlets have dubbed "wild weather."  As the prophet Isaiah says, "O LORD, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it" (Is. 26:11).

Mankind does see the judgment of God with his lifted hand, but it both denies God the authority behind the resulting destruction as well as refuses to accept it as a demonstration of judgment.   As such, the weatherman claims "Mother Nature is sure angry today" when, in fact, it is Father God who is demonstrating His wrath.  Or, on other occasions like with the tsunami in late 2012 that killed thousands, we watch clip after clip of people wringing their hands and asking "why!?" while refusing to look upwards and inwards for the answer.

I do understand this "head in the sand" attitude.  It's often too harsh to think of a God who would massacre 19,000 people in a matter of seconds, isn't it? And so, as Isaiah's words state--the Lord's hand is lifted in judgment; yet, the world does not see it.

Isaiah, though, gives an explanation for all of God's judgments, whether they be of the natural kind or not: "For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the LORD" (Is. 26:10).

God judges mankind for one purpose--so each man or woman will learn righteousness.  That's what it all boils down to--doing whatever it takes to get our attention, to make us righteous.

To become righteous means to become right with God.  This requires moral perfection, which we are utterly unable to achieve on our own, no matter how many good works we accomplish.  As Paul says, "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Rom. 3:22).  Christ's righteousness, then, justifies us, covering our sin, so that we become right with God once again.

This is the sole reason for God's judgment of any man or woman on this earth--to lead that individual to righteousness and, thus, to salvation in Jesus.

Tonight's thunderstorm outside my window is a blessing, not a curse, for my rows of corn and newly planted potatoes, giving them life that they might live.  And yet, so much of the erratic weather we witness is less a blessing and more a sign of God's judgment.

Let us not blame Mother Nature nor shake our heads in bewilderment as so many do.  Instead, let us recognize the power of Father God at work as He seeks to draw a lost and dying world to its knees in order for its people to learn righteousness, which is found only in His son Jesus. 

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