Is God try­ing to get our at­ten­tion?

The Progress-Index Weekend - - RELIGION - REV. TOM LOVORN, TH.D.

Ed­i­tor’s note: Dr. Lovorn’s col­umn was un­avail­able this week. The fol­low­ing col­umn by Dr. Lovorn was orig­i­nally pub­lished on Sept. 11, 2016.

Q. Be­cause of the many nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in our coun­try and world­wide sor­rows, I won­der if God is try­ing to get our at­ten­tion. Nancy Voigt, Colo­nial Heights, VA

A. God is al­ways try­ing to get our at­ten­tion. He cre­ated us to fel­low­ship with him and to do his will (Psalm 100:3; Rev­e­la­tion 4:11). God wants to speak to us ev­ery day in the won­ders of na­ture, through the Bi­ble, by his Spirit, and through his mes­sen­gers. In or­der to hear him, we must be avail­able to lis­ten. If we don’t, how can we be­grudge God’s do­ing what he must to get our at­ten­tion? Many of the re­cent hard­ships in Amer­ica are con­sid­ered “acts of God” be­cause we have no con­trol over hur­ri­canes, tor­na­does, flood­ing, drought, and fires. Maybe God, in mercy, is re­mind­ing our once-Chris­tian na­tion that he is still on the Throne. Scrip­ture does record many times when God al­lowed tur­moil to show his dis­plea­sure. The world­wide Flood of Ge­n­e­sis 7 is an ex­treme ex­am­ple. But, lesser ex­am­ples are found in such pas­sages as 1 Sa­muel 12:18 and 1 Kings 18:45. Although he doesn’t al­ways cause our af­flic­tions, he may al­low the con­se­quences of a re­bel­lious world and wrong choices to draw us to re­mem­ber his words. In his mercy he sends rain and sun on the just and the un­just (Matthew 12:45). If he judges it nec­es­sary to send nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, it’s log­i­cal to as­sume that Godly peo­ple may get some of the fall-out. Je­sus said in John 16:33 that we’re al­ways go­ing to have tribu­la­tions in this world. How­ever, be­liev­ers can have com­fort know­ing that he has the power to see us through them. In Matthew 24, Je­sus pre­dicted up­heavals in na­ture that would be signs of his soon re­turn. The tragedies we’re hear­ing about now all over the world could well be the be­gin­ning of sor­rows ref­er­enced in Matthew 24:8. It’s fit­ting that our hearts em­pathize with those who are hurt­ing. We should pray es­pe­cially for those be­ing per­se­cuted by evil peo­ple. It’s good that we share their grief, be­cause Je­sus taught us to care. In Matthew 25:40 Je­sus said when we help a brother or sis­ter in need, we’re honor­ing him. Re­mem­ber that Eph­e­sians 2:10 says we were cre­ated to do just that. When calami­ties get our at­ten­tion it’s al­ways ap­pro­pri­ate to con­sider if God may be speak­ing. Our an­swers will come in prayer and med­i­ta­tion on his Word.

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