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Natural Disaster

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Near the top of a mountain in Colorado, just above timberline, is a small chalet.  Outside of that Chalet stands a cross and on that cross are the words “Be still, and know that I am God.”  I still remember the first time I was there like it was yesterday.  It was actually 1971, but the memory is so fresh.  I was a camper at Young Life’s Silver Cliff camp coming from Indianapolis, IN.  The highest point in Indiana is a little over 600 feet above sea level, and here I was standing a bit over 10,000 feet ASL with the Arkansas river valley on one side and the collegiate peaks on the other.  It was spectacular.  The Psalms quotation was perfect – such grandeur could not help but remind one of God.

Nature has a way of doing that – even nature in the negative.  When I read of the Chinese landslide yesterday I was horrified by the loss of life, but awestruck by the force of nature involved.  If such things do not make us mindful of our relative insignificance, and therefore longing for a benevolent God, then there is something very wrong with us. I wonder sometimes if the urban and man-controlled nature of so many of our lives does not contribute to the decline of religiosity in the nation.  I know a lot of people that have never allowed themselves to be subjected to nature in such fashion.  It is another bubble.

The Apostle Paul opens his letter to the church in Rome with this:

because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

But so many of us never see what God made, only what man made.  And even many of us that see natural wonders do so in such a controlled fashion that it is more like going to the movies than experiencing creation.  Maybe that is why there are natural disasters?  It is God’s way of forcing us to get out of our unnatural bubble.  In Southern California where I now reside I have certainly seen urban dwellers made into campers in the few seconds it takes for an earthquake to do its work.

I hope that when I get to church this morning they pass the plate for the victims of the Chinese landslide.  I am certainly praying for them now and hope we will do so when we gather.  But to those prayers I add a prayer – a prayer that those that look at the pictures will realize there is more to life than what we make and control, something bigger and more powerful than the human imagination can handle.


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