The devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan has led many of us to pray hard for the victims and donate money and services to relief efforts. Unfortunately, it has also caused some others to make outrageous “predictions” and make even more unsolicited comments as to the reason why this natural disaster occurred. For example, the following was overheard at my kids’ bus stop the day after the tragedy – “First New Orleans, then Haiti and now this. God’s really picking them off, isn’t he?” Uh…actually “he” is not doing that and to hear an accusation like that left me speechless. Does God really punish people or kill them off because of their sins?? I personally do not believe it for a minute. Let’s face it – if God really did that, none of us would be here. And if this is indeed the case, what exactly did the Japanese do to piss God off?
A recent post on Facebook is also an indication that some people will grasp at all kinds of theories:
“Think about this for a minute: Sept 11th- New York, January 11th- Haiti and March 11th- Japan. Luke 21:10-11 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes’, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. ‘Jesus says for behold I come quickly’ …so ask yourself, are you ready?”
Ready for WHAT? Another person recently posted that what happened in Japan was a clear sign of the second coming of Jesus. So I guess we all should ready ourselves for Jesus’ next visit. I, for one, am going to have plenty of water available with hopes that he’ll turn it all into wine! And it’s good that we’re planning to party since the world is going to end in 2012 anyway, right? (but that’s a whole other story) It’s amazing what people hear and read that they take to be 100% factual. The Bible reference itself could be interpreted many ways. It’s actually quite vague and most definitely up for interpretation. While it does mention earthquakes specifically, those are common in many areas, yet I don’t see anything that indicates they are caused by God. Moreover, did Jesus really say the previous passage, word for word? (again, that’s a whole other story)
“Pestilence” can be defined many ways. It does not necessarily mean disease of bubonic plague proportions. It can also refer to any type of destructive influence on society such as racism or hate in any form. It could be argued that the comment at the bus stop was an example of just that. Truth is, we are living with “pestilences in various places” right now and have been for a very long time! This is nothing new. But it is something that we as individuals can control. If you want to know why an earthquake happened, ask a seismologist – don’t speak as if you know the intentions of God. Especially if what you are saying is not based on love. Because what is not love… is not God.