Q. Why does God allow so many natural disasters, as well as sickness and sorrow?
A. Sin came into the world with the disobedience of Adam and not only affected the human race but every level of Creation. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22).
God uses weather, natural disasters, disease and sickness to awaken the unbeliever as to the reality of eternity, and to make them realize how insignificant and dependent on God they really are. He wants them to be saved.
Just because a believer is saved does not mean that he is immune to sin and its effects. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). God allows trials and sorrows to draw us closer to Himself, and to detach our hearts from this world, which we will soon exchange for the Father’s house. “And there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).
“He that hath received His testimony hath set to His seal that God is true” (John 3:33).
The above verse is probably the best definition of faith in the Scriptures. This is faith! Faith takes God at His Word without question. Faith believes!
The Christian has an unfailing, divine person to trust in. Unlike those of our acquaintances, here in this world, this person is always worthy of our confidence. He will never let us down! He is the Lord Jesus Christ! We have put our faith in Him for salvation, now can’t we trust Him for every step of our pathway, every circumstance of life? “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith counts on God for the next step, acting on the light of Scripture. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
There is always light for the way, and never does the Bible speak of blind faith. Faith always has an object, an eye to the future. It is true that, “Abraham…went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). But we also read, “He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live…Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5).
Many years ago, while flying over India, Handley Page, a famous British aviator, was alarmed by the sound of some animal, presumably a rat, active near him, but out of his sight and reach, having evidently come aboard his plane before take-off. There was no convenient place to land to rid himself of the unwelcome passenger. There were wires, hoses and cables which a rat could soon damage, and their damage could mean loss of control or power. That could mean disaster! What could he do? Handley remembered that the rats common to the plains were not found higher in the mountains because of the thinner air. So, he took his plane as high as he could and kept it there until the ratty noises had long ceased. Upon landing, he found and removed the dead rat. He had mortified that rat by high flight.
We too can keep the sinful flesh in the place of death by flying high…in other words, “Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
We live in a three dimensional world. Why then does Paul use four dimensions to measure the love of Christ? Imagine you are in the depths of the ocean. If you could be in the very center, there would not only be a breadth and length to the mighty waters, but there would be a depth below you and height above you. God desires that we comprehend the measureless dimensions of His love and realize we are at its very center. There are so many verses of Scripture that confirm this wonderful truth, as well as the fact that the Lord Jesus proved His great love by going to the cross and giving His life so that we could enjoy His love for all eternity.
In the meantime He says to us, “As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love” (John 15:9). How much of that love will you enjoy today?
At a Bible conference recently one of the speakers made the following comment:
“Ultimately there is no downside to obedience.”
The Word of God states unequivocally, “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments” (Psalm 112:1).There may be a cost attached to obedience, and we may not always know what the end result will be, but it is always the best way, and the way to true and lasting happiness in the Christian life. We read of Abraham, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). He had no idea where he was going or what was ahead, but what blessings he received as a result of his obedience! “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).
There are also consequences for disobedience. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
“And from above the gate of Ephraim, and above the old gate, and above the fish gate, and the tower of Hananeel, and the tower of Meah, even unto the sheep gate: and they stood still in the prison gate” (Nehemiah 12:39).
The first mention of a prison in the Bible is in connection with Joseph, who as a result of his faithfulness to His God suffered in this way. “And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison” (Genesis 39:20).This would remind us that if we are faithful to the Lord we too will not be popular and will suffer some reproach. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16).Notice that the Prison Gate is in connection with the Sheep Gate, which speaks of the person and work of Christ. The Apostle Paul, who was such a faithful witness for Lord referred to himself as, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1).
Are we willing to take our place at the Prison Gate? In other words, to suffer a little reproach for Christ?
Yesterday we mentioned the need for watchfulness and spiritual energy if we are going to live for the Lord in a wicked world of sin and temptation. However, in the end it is only the grace of God that keeps us, and we must learn, that we are “kept.” Here are some Scriptures to consider in this regard.
“He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3).
“Kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5).
“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee” (Numbers 6:24).
The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the believers in Thessalonica was, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).There is no limit to His keeping power. Learn to draw on that resource daily.