Disasters are part of living in a fallen world. Jesus taught us, "He makes his sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Disasters come without warning and are no respecter of position, status, age, economic status or belief system. Disasters have an equalizing effect on those affected. Disaster survivors share the same overwhelming helplessness.
When disasters strike, we often seek to understand "why." The Bible offers insight to these questions, but ultimately only God knows for certain why these catastrophic events occur in our world. We should always be cautious in speaking definitively on the question of "why," but there are lessons we can learn from disasters.
The lessons that God can teach each of us in the aftermath of a disaster:
• We learn what is important. Disasters have a way to separate the trivial from the vital. No one laments the loss of a big screen TV or a missed golf outing in the aftermath of a disaster; they mourn the loss of loved ones and despair over being homeless.
• We learn that we live in a world of both good and evil. We see the demonstration of sin and evil as looters and scam artists prey on the vulnerable. Yet we also see neighbors reaching to neighbors and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers serving meals, cleaning up flooded homes, cutting trees after tornadoes and putting tarps on damaged roofs in the aftermath of disasters. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief trains almost a thousand volunteers for disaster response each year—and exists to bring practical help, a healing touch and the hope of Christ during crisis.
• We learn about the frailty of life. Disasters reveal clearly that our time on earth is short and uncertain. None of us knows what tomorrow holds and none of us are promised a single day on this Earth.
•We learn that our future is not in our hands. We do not control our own destinies. All that we possess can be gone in an instant.
• We learn that knowing God and being prepared for eternity are the most vital concerns of life. Disasters remind us that that those who are prepared survive disasters better than those who are unprepared. And the most important preparation for life is to know the One who holds all life in His hands. It is easy to waste our one and only life in trivial pursuits and miss that which is most vital—a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Disasters remind us that death can and will come for all of us, so we had better be ready.
The only sure way to be prepared for disasters and death is to know Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord, in a personal relationship. If you would like to know more about how to have a personal relationship with Christ that gives you an assurance of eternal life, or if you would like to know more about becoming a Kentucky Baptist disaster relief volunteer, contact us at email@example.com.
Coy Webb is disaster relief director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.