Tornados, Tragedies & Truth / Rev. Robin Foster

April 29, 2014

There is no doubt that many of our thoughts and prayers are focused on the victims of the tornados and tragedies that struck Mayflower, Vilonia, and other areas. While we can and will rebuild, the greatest loss is that of life. Friends have asked me how God could allow this to happen. This is a tough question, indeed, and a Christian’s response to it can bring someone closer to God, or drive them away.

In John chapter nine, Jesus faced a similar situation, though not on the scale the recent storms brought. A man who was blind from birth caused the disciples to question whether it was the blind man or his parents whose sinned caused the blindness.

Jesus answered that it was neither the blind man nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God could be displayed. Now, Jesus was not saying that God caused this man to be born blind. Jesus knew the world was fallen, and that bad things would happen.

The fall of man had ramifications not only for humanity’s relationship with God, but for God’s entire creation. Regardless of the fall, God did not leave his creation to fend for itself. He has called his people to do the “works of Him” as Jesus mentioned.

Like the disciples who were engaged in the fruitless discussion of why the man was born blind, it is a fruitless discussion as to why these terrible storms so damaged our neighbors.

The question for us is not why, but how. How can we do the works of the Father who has now sent us?

Coincidentally, Jesus cured the blind man by making him go to the pool called “sent” and having him wash his eyes.

In this account of Jesus and the blind man, we find three reasons why Jesus was compelled to heal the blind man, and how those reasons should motivate us during this awful tragedy.

First, Jesus was compelled by obedience to the will of his Father. We are commanded to do the works of God that glorify Him. It is at these times His works and our obedience are most needed.

Second, Jesus was compelled by the need of the blind man. The disciples only had questions. We still fall into this trap today, spending time trying to answer a question that is unanswerable. God sends us with love and the gospel to heal the broken-hearted, repair what has been torn apart, and give an unending hope to those who have lost all hope.

Finally, Jesus had the greatest love for others as never seen before or after His life. In the midst of nearly being stoned at the end of John chapter eight, Jesus was willing to look for someone who needed to be healed. You might be enduring a storm of your own right now and feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. Don’t allow that to keep you from working the works of Him who sent you to others with the life-changing gospel.

Our community truly has been blessed by the outpouring of love since Sunday night. Within hours, disaster relief workers were on the scene, assessing the situation and coordinating efforts to help with cleanup, and eventually, the rebuilding. People have already donated time and money. I see many living up to Jesus’ words: “We must work the works of him who sent me.”

Rev. Robin Foster is senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Russellville, Ark.

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Norm Miller

Thank you, Robin, for this reminder that God always has our best interests at heart — in good times and in bad. We pray the Lord will bless you as you lead members of 2nd to assist their neighbors in this time of need. — Norm

Johnathan Pritchett

I appreciate these words Bro. Robin. I am from Maumelle, AR, and even though I am no longer in Arkansas, many of my friends and family are there. Many of them were affected by the tornadoes that were right down the road from my hometown.

This is the right way to provide a Biblical commentary when natural disaster strikes. It is encouraging and enlightening, reminding us of our Christian duty.

In the past, certain people have espoused insensitive vomit on Twitter in response to people suffering from tornadoes, which has struck me as a kind of practicing divination in explaining “why” that had happened. Many, like me, find that sort of thing repugnant.

I thank you and all the people out there who are responding to this tragic event. Go Hogs and God bless!

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