By Paul Bawden
Our prayers are certainly for those who have experienced the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida. It’s hard for us, who have not been touched by such violent storms, to even imagine what it’s like to experience such catastrophes, with some having lost their lives and others having lost all they have. We need to continue to pray for those who are stepping up to provide help in so many ways, and for the recovery in these areas.
In fact, the overwhelming response to provide assistance in these devastated areas is incredible. Such a response shows that the hearts of people are moved with compassion when tragedy strikes. In addition, it reminds each of us what really matters in life, and that our differences are really non-essential when our lives are at stake.
For me, this overwhelming response to these awful storms is evidence that the biblical God uses people to bring His love and care in time of need. Cynics might say where is God in all of this, but it’s obvious He is using people to help people, and He is there in His Spirit to provide strength and comfort for those who will look to Him in faith.
From a spiritual perspective, though, I always like to consider if there is anything we can learn from such horrible events? Certainly, as mentioned, our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by these storms. But, from a spiritual perspective, yes, a biblical perspective, a couple of things come to mind. Romans 8:19-22 tells us that the creation, under the curse of sin, groans and suffers the pains of childbirth waiting the day of redemption, which will happen when Christ returns, sets up His 1000 year kingdom on earth and eventually creates a new heaven and earth. That means some day devastating hurricanes, earthquakes and other cataclysmic events will no longer occur.
Secondly, we are reminded that life is fragile, and can be taken from us quickly. Such should cause all of us to think about what will happen to us after this life. Is this life all there is? Do we just live on planet earth, and do the best we can, and that is it? A person can have that lifestyle, but it misses the reality of what is available to each person.
What do I mean by that? Regardless of one’s philosophy of life, there is the option of eternal life, that is, lasting life, which can be experienced now with the guarantee of life beyond the grave. That’s why the words of Jesus Christ speak to all of us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
There it is. Eternal life is what we all need, provided through Jesus in His death, burial, and bodily resurrection for us. The one who accepts Christ as personal Savior receives His eternal life, life that starts now, giving eternal purpose for living here, with the guarantee of living beyond the grave with God forever.
Oh, I know the skeptics, scoffers, and doubters are around. But their response in no way changes Christ’s offer of eternal life to any who will come to Him in faith, believing in Him for forgiveness and eternal life. Those, who make that decision for Christ, begin a journey with Him, where His character becomes evident in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23), and even in the midst of challenging times, the believer knows that God is there with His encouragement and strength (Romans 5:1-5). What’s God up to? He is reminding us at this time that He cares, loves all of us, and He wants to give us His eternal life, which we desperately need, so, through faith in the Lord, each of us can experience His life that never ends!
Paul Bawden is married and served in the pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He writes for Union Gospel Press, as well as being a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, bike, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe.
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