Friday, November 27, 2009

Act of God

If God was one of us (just a slob like one of us, la la la) I think he'd sue for defamation of character. Parts of Ireland have been hit with dreadful flooding this past week. In one interview I was listening to a man was describing how his insurance company might not pay out as the destruction to his property was an "act of God".
It seems like a logical conclusion to think that of course God is in control of the weather, sitting up there with his buttons controlling lightning and waves and wind and snow and so on. He's all powerful so of course he controls everything. The problem with this line of thinking if taken to it's logical conclusion is that God is arbitrarily controlling the weather to the huge detriment of his children and also to those who don't want to be his kids. From Hurricane Ike to the Tsunami on stevens day in the Indian Ocean that killed over 300,000 people. The argument of whether God controls the weather leads to a deeper discussion about the problem of evil which I won't go fully in to on this blog. It's something I think about often as I'm sure do most of us.

Lately a prominent american pastor John Piper blogged out about a tornado that hit his town. He believed that it was a specific sign to make people turn from certain sins, he also believed his prostate cancer was a gentle reminder from God for him to turn from sin. Big statements to make about God. If we use every disaster as a sign from God to be explained then we've got a pretty harsh God. Millions of babies aborted to teach us what? Children abused and raped to teach us what? Churches abusing their flock to teach us what? I could go on but I'm meant to be talking about the weather.
Everytime I think about things like this I always come back to Jesus. God looks like Jesus as Hebrews 1:3 tells us. What would Jesus say? Simply put we know that things aren't as they are supposed to be, hence the announcement of the coming kingdom. In fact at one stage in Jesus ministry he rebuked the wind and the waves to make them still. They obeyed. If God was controlling the wind and the waves why would Jesus rebuke them? I don't think Jesus and his Father where at odds in that situation. Jesus knew that there was a natural element to the wind and waves stirring due to the fallen nature of the world and he rebuked the rebelliousness of nature and brought his kingdom authority to that situation.
In another situation in Luke 13 Jesus talks about how easy it is for us to think disaster falls on certain people because it is the judgement of God or somehow they deserve it due to some sin in their life. Jesus says nothing of the sort and says pretty much that we need to not analyse these situations but to focus on our own relationship with God and know that we are all in need of a saviour. Unless we repent we too will perish. Simple as that.
When we pray for Jesus kingdom to come we are praying just for that, for his kingdom to come. It's not already here meaning there is conflict between the will of God for the earth and what actually happens here on earth, hence the statement "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Why would we pray for God's will to be done on earth if this was infact already true? Evil happens because there are other wills at work apart from Gods. He's that good and sovereign that he has chosen to give us free will to allow us to enter into a genuine love relationship with Him.
When floods hit certain places let's not think God is teaching the people who live there a lesson. All we know is that floods happen, nature can be cruel but God is good, the perfect Father and can be trusted. He'll be there in the midst of evil working to bring about good but he never needs to cause it or bring it about to do that.

The gospel only makes sense in the midst of chaos where God isn’t always getting his way – even with nature. And so we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We don’t pray for the things that are already true, we pray for the things that we hope will become true.