Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans last year. People lost everything and they asked, some of them: where was God?
Fundamentalist preacher Pat Robertson had the answer right away. God destroyed New Orleans, he declared, because of abortion and homosexuality. But the mayor, Ray Nagin, disagreed. Sharply. And at his own news conference, he set the record straight. God did not destroy his town because of abortion and homosexuality.
He destroyed it because of war in Iraq and disunity among black residents. That’s what steamed God, Nagin said, not abortion and gays.
Either way, God is the heavy. But is he really the one to blame?
After Katrina, for a few days in the ministry you could focus on the theme of humans ruining the earth. You could use Rev 11:18.…..God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” You could ask: “do you think human activity is causing the destructive weather?” Even those who thought not would listen, out of respect for Katrina.
I used this scripture in the 1970s when only means of ruining the earth anyone could imagine was nuclear holocaust. That was then. Today, there are so many ways humans might be fouling the nest. Global warming, global dimming (a new one), pesticides, air pollution, water pollution, ozone depletion, contamination of food supply, species extinction, deforestation. All debatable to different degrees, but all plausible.
It’s as if a man runs his automobile without concern for maintenance. He doesn‘t care about oil changes. He doesn‘t care about brake shoes. He doesn‘t care about tune-ups. Little does he know the consequence of his ignorance, but if it comes, he can hardly blame the manufacturer.
And it’s the same way with earth’s manufacturer. God knows the right maintenance for the planet. Plus, the Bible account tells of His Son walking on water and silencing a violent storm….in other words, showing mastery of the elements. Adam gave up a lot when he rejected God’s rule. For God’s rule would implement knowledge and ability that humans don’t have.
And we won’t even mention the smarts of building a city next to the sea yet below sea level. Hardly God’s wisdom, it barely passes for human wisdom.
So you can’t blame God when human shortsightedness brings suffering. Moreover, the real answer, his kingdom rule, is approaching. Best thing to do in the meantime is clean up the mess, and alleviate human suffering.
In our own organization, volunteers have arrived from across the country and even outside. They report, strangely, that not too much is happening with rebuilding. Being volunteers who travel at their own expense, they focus on our own family first. The June 2006 Awake! tells of 3200 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses destroyed by the flood. Half were renovated by February. It would be about two thirds by now.
They don’t blame God for their inconvenience.
Prov 1:31,31, Mark 4:37-41, Matt 6:9,10