God Is In The Warning Business
In September 2001, Dan Rather, the former anchorman for the CBS nightly news,
stood on top of a building facing the burning wreckage of the World Trade
Center. Trying to be profound, he told the listening audience, "This is a day
you will remember for the rest of your life."
Mr. Rather made that statement with the understanding that major calamities
occur on an irregular basis. Unfortunately, events of the past year alone
have cast great doubt on the likelihood that 911 will remain crystal clear in
During the past 12 months the world has seen a number of memorable disasters.
A year ago, the U.S. and Japan were pummeled by a record number of
hurricanes and typhoons; in December, the most deadly tsunami in history
killed a quarter of a million people; in January, record rainfall in
California caused homes slide down hillsides; this spring, Central Africa
turned into a death zone as millions of people faced starvation; in July,
England incurred its worst-ever terrorist attack; and just a few days ago,
Hurricane Katrina generated the most costly natural disaster in American
So many catastrophes are occurring, there is a "B" list of events that failed
to grab the headlines. At the same time Katrina was flooding New Orleans,
1,000 people in Iraq were trampled to death in a stampede; suicide bombings
had become daily occurrences; at a school in southern Russia, 300 children
were murdered by Chechen terrorists; and various infectious diseases such as West
Nile, SARS, mad cow and bird flu began to spread ominously around the globe.
Despite the fact that we are seeing an unprecedented increase
in the frequency of disasters, many people are still bold enough to dismiss these
events as just part of a natural cycle. The Omaha World Herald
featured an article that mocked the idea that Katrina was related to the
end times. Stephen O'Leary, a liberal scholar at the University of Southern
California, asked, "Where in the Bible does it say 'And the great city New
Orleans would be destroyed by a hurricane and the end would come?'"
Mr. O'Leary might want to read 2 Peter 3:3-4: "Know this first of all, that
in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their
own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since
the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of
In Matthew 24, Jesus gave mankind a simple way to know if the tribulation hour
is drawing near. After the Lord described what would be the signs of the
times, He said the calamities would occur like labor pains. The logical
conclusion is that over time they would increase in intensity and frequency.
I strongly believe we are now experiencing the advanced stages of these birth
Because of the escalation factor, skeptics have the option of waiting for
things to get worse before they are convinced that we are in the last days. However, it
is very dangerous to wait. First of all, it is questionable whether even another
calamity would be enough to convince someone. Second, because it would be
extremely unwise to be caught on the wrong side of the rapture, it is
important to make the right decision now.
As Christians who know we are in the end times, our duty is to seek God's
will. Far too many believers look at tragedies like 911 and Katrina as eye
candy. They are intrigued by the occurrence of end-time events, but that
fascination doesn't translate to positive action.
I can speak endlessly about how my heart goes out to the people in the
devastated areas, but not until I personally decided to donate to one
of the aid agencies was my concern certified. I hope all the
regular visitors to this site have already donated to the relief
effort. The organization I most highly recommend is Samaritan's Purse,
which is run by Franklin Graham.
God allows events like Katrina to happen to remind us of our fallen state. Some already have guessed why New Orleans got the short end of the stick. Whenever Jesus was asked why ill fortune strikes people, He always answered by reminding His listeners that sin is the root of the problem. Without salvation, even the people on dry land will die.
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were
sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell
you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke
If the rapture does not happen soon, I fear we will see far greater
heartache. For whatever reason, people have refused to humble themselves in
the aftermath of these disasters. As a nation, we've come to place our trust
in ourselves, the government, and our financial resources.
Calamity does provide an opportunity for people to help. The
government's job is to serve the public, and there is always insurance and
aid to rebuild. However, in the end, God is the only hope that will last.
"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented
not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and
idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither
can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of
their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts" (Rev.
Hurricane Katrina - A "Sign"?
We all saw the news: Hurricane Katrina landed a glancing blow to the
southern tip of Florida and moved into warmer Gulf waters. What would this
bring to the Gulf States?
We all watched in fear and awe as the storm continued to grow in strength and
size, and we held our collective breath when it looked as though she would
make landfall in the worst possible of places - New Orleans, a city below
sea level that could flood and fill like the water bowl of our favorite pet.
When the storm had passed, we cried over the damage and smiled in triumph
as we learned that the flooding was not as bad in the inner portion of the city as we had
feared it could be.
Then, things changed.
One day after the storm, levees broke. Water poured in from the surrounding
lakes and people watched in horror as worst-case scenarios began to emerge
as reality. As I write this, those living in the conditions present in New Orleans and surrounding areas are crying, they are hopeless, they are
afraid. They are railing at government. They are shouting at God.
As a Bible-believing Christian, I have watched all of this and shed many
tears for those lost, and for those suffering. I have also taken some time
away from all of the overwhelming coverage that fills the TV airwaves to
reflect and to pray. I've read and re-read prophetic passages in the Bible
and I've debated with myself to make sure I'm not trying to create something
that isn't there.
I've believed for the past three years that we are indeed opening up into
what prophecy watchers call the beginning of the end--the birth pangs of the
end times. This latest event, along with other weather-related issues of
the past year, has further convinced me that we are indeed marching along
on God's prophetic time table.
Luke 21:25 says "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and
in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the
sea and the waves roaring."
I can't think of a better way than that to describe what is happening right here in our own
back yards. In a discussion with a co-worker who is, sadly, an unbeliever at
this time, I brought this up. He said that what has happened was
definitely NOT of God, but of nature. I asked him what was nature, if not
of God? He had no answer to that. I am hearing so much of this same type
of thinking that it saddens me. But it also furthers my resolve to ramp up my
own witness while there is still time. But time is running out. I fear
that soon, the only opportunity people will have to consider the Bible as
God's word will be as they stumble through empty neighborhoods puzzling over
cars sitting in the street with no drivers, entire church congregations
missing, wondering how they could possibly have missed it.
I write this as a message to believers and unbelievers alike. God has been
trying to get our attention for centuries. His efforts just keep getting
bigger and bigger. Do we really want to think about what He will send our
way next? To the believers, I challenge you to ramp up YOUR witness for
Jesus, to show unbelievers the love that Jesus offers us and to help them
understand why God is taking such measures to wake up people to His truth.
The Good News of Jesus is something each of us should want to share
with as many as we possibly can.
To the unbelievers, I challenge you to think. Put science aside and think
from your hearts. If you think there is a God out there who created this
world we live in, would it not follow that He would want our love and
devotion? And that He might be taking final steps
to get us to choose Him over selfish pleasures and life in THIS world so
that we may have an eternity of joy, peace and love?
Katrina: a sign? No, I think a warning.
---- Tracy Miller