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Finding hope amidst tornadoes, earthquakes, and war

Tornado destruction in Alabama. Image: Reuters

Please join us today, and in the days to come, in praying for the victims of the tornado destruction in Alabama and elsewhere. Pray also for the government and other relief agencies (including Christian organizations) that are doing their best to help in the aftermath of disaster.

Natural disasters have always presented a challenge to Bible readers who believe in God’s total authority over nature. Some Christians, troubled at the thought that God would allow innocent people to suffer, have tried to interpret recent natural disasters as a form of judgment on particularly evil sinners. But Matthew 5 assures us—even if it doesn’t explain things as much as we might prefer—that “[your Father in heaven] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

In Mark 13, Jesus reassures his followers with words that apply perfectly to us today: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” It might seem strange to find comfort in disaster—but Jesus isn’t commanding us to rejoice in destruction. Rather, he gives us a reason to cling to hope even amidst the indiscriminate horror of natural disasters and war.

So we can mourn with the victims of disaster even as we look ahead in hope to a day when such sorrows will be no more. And in the meantime, there is no better way to love our neighbors than to lend a helping hand when they are in need. So whether through prayer, financial support, material assistance, or some other means, we encourage you today to bring comfort to the hurting—in Alabama, in Japan, in the Middle East, anywhere—as Jesus Christ did.

Image via Reuters, from this Wall Street Journal article.

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