What do we do, how should we feel, how can we help, how do we deal with it? Sometimes we ask these questions of ourselves, especially when we see and hear with so much clarity and persistence the devastation in Japan — destruction defined by an earthquake, tsunami and even nuclear power plant melt downs. When we add to this the last few years of natural disasters from Hurricane Katrina to the more recent earthquake in Haiti, we can feel overwhelmed. As Christians, how do we respond? We might ask further, what’s going on?
I will try to answer the “what’s going” on question first.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22
“God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.” Revelation 21:3b,4
The first scripture speaks as to what is going on. The creation itself is in the process of being redeemed. God is at work in the hearts and through the lives of all those who will turn to Him in faith. And His purpose is to one day usher in a new heavens and a new earth, a new creation birthed by His grace and spirit where all people have turned their hearts to God. Until God ushers in the post-sin and death Kingdom, these kinds of things will continue, just as Jesus said they would.
“In this world you will have tribulation . . . you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed, such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pangs.” Matthew 24
Then Jesus tells us what to do.
“Keep watch . . . be a faithful and wise servant.” Matthew 24
We can respond to the needs in Japan through UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, that is already at work. But also, all the ways we influence our world and serve others is a direct and indirect response to the needs of that world — yes, when we directly give to UMCOR or another relief agency but also when we serve our neighbor, bless our family, worship our God and make a difference in our community. As we join our daily efforts with the efforts of millions of other Christians, together we are making a difference. Living out lives of faith, keeping watch, being faithful and wise servants consistently and lovingly — these are already ongoing responses to the seemingly overwhelming situations in our world.
Category: Weekly Thoughts