Daily Devotional for Wednesday December 29, 2004

The Beginning of the End

(Romans 8:21)

The day after Christmas, the largest earthquake in 40 years at 9.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Indian Ocean seabed off Indonesia's Sumatra Island sending huge waves thousands of miles causing death and destruction in countries around southern and southeast Asia and even in Africa. The magnitude of this natural disaster is still unfolding, but already over 27,000 are known dead with the final death toll expected to top 45,000. May we take a few moments today to pray for those people who have been affected by this natural disaster, and pray for God to be with them in a special way as they look to Him for their strenght and hope.

Every time we have a major natural disaster with so many lives lost, the question many begin to ask is if this is the start of the end of the world. Let me tell you that what happened in southeast Asia was NOT the start of the end of the world, it was simply fallen nature at work. However, what happened should be a clear sign to everyone that what we read about in Revelation as God pours out His wrath in those final days will indeed happen. Many have scoffed at the widespread massive destruction to the planet as described in Revelation. Events like the numerous hurricanes that ravaged Florida a few months ago, the wildfires out west that destroyed thousands of square miles of land last year, the earthquake Sunday, are all small scale examples of what will one day happen on this planet. God will pour out His wrath, over 1/3 of the planet, not just a few thousand miles. It won't be 40-50,000 people dead, but tens of millions.

Let me tell you about he fall of nature. One of the questions I get very often is why God allows tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and other acts of nature that destroy billions of dollars of resources each year globally, and take thousands of lives. An understanding of this requires an understanding of the consequences of man's original sin in the Garden of Eden. As I have shared on many occasions, man was created to live and never die. He was placed in a perfect environment, free of germs, disease, and the acts of nature that we have in our world today.

At the time God created this environment we lived in, there were NO tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, typhoons, floods, earthquakes, or other acts of destruction by nature. These acts of nature are often referred to now as acts of God. That is a very misleading statement. God does allow these acts of nature to occur but these were NOT His intended actions for the environment He created man to live in. A consequence of the fall of man due to sin, was a fall of his environment.

The good news however, is found in Isaiah 35 where it speaks of the restoration of nature to its pristine condition and beauty. Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden and forced to make their way in this now fallen creation. They were created to live in a beautiful and perfect environment. Now they and their ancestors would have to get along in an imperfect and hostile one. However, there will come a day very soon, when Christ shall return, in a twinkling of an eye, and wipe out all sin from this world. Nature will once again be restored to its perfect beauty and free of the destructive acts we face today.

As you know, one of my goals each day is to take our unseen faith, and translate it into the very real world we live in today. I do my best daily to make our faith come alive, real, and practical in the day to day lives we lead. Understanding that nature has fallen just like man, and that due to its fallen state is capable of great destruction, we must use every tool God has given us to protect ourselves. God has given man great wisdom over the years in the ability to predict and follow the patterns of weather that can lead to destruction and loss of life. While we cannot stop these acts of nature, we can be prepared for them.

I love you and care about you so much. While we cannot change the fact our environment has been cursed by sin, we can use God-given tools to help us be aware of its potential dangers. God has much work for each of us to do in these last days, and helping us be aware of, and not fall into the traps of sin this world is infested with, is part of what He has called me to do. While nature has fallen from its created perfection just as man has, one day both will be restored to its original beauty and glory!