I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do not know Me, so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:5-7 HCSB)
We are all by now well aware of all that is going on along the coast in the aftermath of the awe-inspiring storm known as Katirna. We’ve all seen the images of looting and people shooting at helicopters and houses completely immersed in water save for the roofs and the people standing on top of them. We’ve all heard people complaining to the government to do something to help them. And, of course, we’ve heard people talk about the judgment of God coming down on America for her sins.
Now, I do not deny that God is behind this disaster. In fact, the Bible affirms that very truth.
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:6 ESV Emphasis mine)
I think there is something else for us to see in this disaster, though, that many of us are not comfortable with. This is the perfect opportunity for the church to bring the gospel to a people who are obviously not serving the God of the Bible. We can send money and send food, but what these people need along with these things is the love of Christ shown to them in a practicle way. As food is handed to them (when the food finally arrives) they need to be told about Jesus as well.
Instead of condemning all these people as hell-bound sinners (and no doubt most of them are), we should be using this sensitive moment to move in and show people the love that Christ showed to people in their sensitive moments.
But along with this, we need to be making a call to the rest of the nation to repent of her sin as well. I am reminded of the words of Jesus.
At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And He responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well! Or those 18 that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed–do you think they were more sinful than all the people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!” (Luke 13:1-5 HCSB)
The lesson the rest of us need to learn from this (and it’s a lesson that we didn’t learn from the terrible event of 9-11) is that we are no less evil than those people in New Orleans. We all, being human, have the tendency in us to do those very same sinful actions that some of those gang members and such are taking in response to the crisis. Of course, those of us who are Christians have been set free from the bondage to that tendency, and apart from Christ, it is much more than a tendency.
Take time today to share the gospel with those around you. Share the love of Christ with people in a way that will make sense to them. But don’t just show them the love of Christ; tell them the story. No one ever got saved by just seeing someone live out their Christianity. As Paul tells us,
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15 ESV)