This past weekend the east coast experienced some incredible damage from Hurricane Irene. The huge storm destroyed many people's houses and many have lost everything. In the wake of such a horrific natural disaster, how ought a Christian to think about natural disasters? And what about all the other kinds of suffering such as disease, physical disabilities, and death? One thing all humanity can agree upon is that this earth is far from perfect. Many have rightly asked the question “What happened to this world and what hope to we have?”
God the Creator
Genesis makes it clear that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. The bible also tells us that God made the world perfect. There was no fault. There were no hurricanes. There was no sickness. There was no death. All of the earth was perfectly made by God and God saw it as “very good” (Gen 1:31). This is important to note. So often we blame and accuse God for letting these disasters happen. We raise our scrawny finger and point it to the sky and say “God! Why did you let this happen?” Remember that God did not create a broken world. Humanity, the pinnacle of God’s creation who was made in the image and likeness of God, corrupted God’s perfect created world.
In Genesis 3, the Bible tells of the cataclysmic event that has forever altered the world. Adam and Eve, deceived by the serpent, deliberately disobey God and brought sin into this world. Sin, suffering, and death entered this world through humanities rebellious and treasonous actions. As a result of humanity’s sin, God’s perfect world declined into a distorted and perverse image of God’s original creation. Hurricanes, suffering, sickness, and death all entered this world because of humanity's disobedience. It is no secret that the world we live in is a messed up world. The reason is because of sin and the corruption of God’s perfect creation.
The Hope of Redemption
God is gracious and merciful. Despite the rebellion of humanity, God saw it fit to initiate a plan to redeem humanity and this fallen world. In Genesis 3:15 God made a promise to the serpent to “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” In this verse have the first taste of God’s redemptive work. The rest of the Bible builds on the story of a loving God who seeks to redeem humanity and restore creation. Through the line of Abraham from the nation of Israel a son of David would come and lay down his life to defeat sin and redeem God’s creation. This God-man was Jesus Christ and through his life, death, and resurrection, he redeems humanity. By dying in our place, Jesus purchases our redemption in his blood. However this redemption is waiting for its full completion at the day of his second coming.
Those who are in Jesus, eagerly await for God to full restore this world to its perfect created order at the second coming of Jesus. We groan inwardly waiting for our full adoption. Romans 8:23-24 tells us, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
You might have by groaning right now. You might have had your life destroyed by Irene. You might be dealing with intense suffering or hardship. You might be dealing with a grave disease that might just take your life. Whatever your circumstance, remember this; One day Jesus will come and restore this broken world. Our hope is made secure as he purchased our redemption on the cross. As you suffer, be filled with hope; Hope that one day our adoption will be complete at the glorious return of King Jesus.