« Gospel Reflection for Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Main | The 5 of 5 Meme »

January 30, 2006

Comments

Fred K.

This position seems to reflect a watchmaker idea of God. I tend more toward God as free who created nature to be free. So, nature does its thing, but within the context of God's providence. Jesus calmed the waves, waves that made the disciples fearful. I trust that God has a wonderful plan for my life, including the surpises that may terrify me at first glance.

Jesus calmed the storm. That shows He has power over nature. God created the heavens and the earth. That shows He is greater than nature or natural science.

I don't agree with your reasoning here Hector - to me it's such a fatalist attitude. Cancer is an accident of nature - do we not pray for healing? Your daughter was fighting for her life in the hospital, was it wrong to call on the name of Jesus. No! That's what intercession is all about. Asking for God's mercy!

I agree that we should be ready to die at any moment. I am, and I'm confident that my faith means that today I will be in paradise with Him. I want my friends and family and even those who I don't yet know (or those I don't like much!) to know that same assurance.

But life is worth preserving. Always. That's why we cry out - Lord let your shield of protection be over our city. Lord we need your healing hand. Lord calm the storm. Lord let Your will be done in my life.

God will call us home when He knows that we are ready to be there, that's not in question here, but theologically speaking I think we have the right to cast our anxieties on Him because of His love for us. That includes asking molten lava not to wipe me and my family out, or for me to be washed away in the tsunami.

be blessed :)

Valerie

I agree with the second commentor. We can always ask the Lord for protection from any kind of disaster or tragedy, but it may be that He wants us to be with Him in heavean at that time, or perhaps He'll grant our prayer and spare our life because our time on earth isn't quite done.
This post brought back the memory of my dear mother, who was extremely afraid of tornadoes. She would take all of us kids to the basement, where we would say a rosary for our protection. It must have "worked" because we were never harmed! Nonetheless, you raise an interesting point, and it's one which I will ponder on for awhile.

Argent

You bring up a meaty topic, especially in light of all the recent natural disasters.

My answer is kind of roundabout. One of my favorite paintings is Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Thomas that depicts Thomas poking his finger into Jesus' pierced side and Jesus patiently and loving allowing him to. What does this have to do with natural disasters?

It shows that Christ has triumphed over death, the root of all our fears...that our lives will end senselessly. But the Christian hope in the face of disasters is that though we may die, yet will we live because Christ lives, Our Victor.

This doesn't absolve us from making preparations in the face of hurricanes and tornadoes. Personally, I'd rather face a hurricane than a tornado...at least you have more time to prepare or get out of the way. Charity demands that we make sure our early-warning systems are working and in place. I live in "hurricane alley" so we take hurricane watches and warnings seriously. My husband's aunt lives in LA and has earthquake emergency plans in place.

An excellent meditation for us is found in Psalm 46: God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging. The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

If we should lose our earthly existence inspite of all our preparations, death has no hold over us because of the Resurrection.

Maggie

I always remember a little piece of wisdom from my childhood that I recently heard made into a Christian Contemporary song: Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He calms the children.

It isn't for us to ask which one is in God's plan. We are just to know that whatever comes God is always with us.

Gayla

My short answer is: God is sovereign and He can/does do as He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

My longer answer is: He created the heavens and the earth; He's in control over all of it and all of us. In light of His sovereignty, He has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. He knows how and when He'll bring us home. The weather - whatever kind it is - is not outside His control. He causes it all. To say He doesn't, and that it's just 'random,' is to say that there is something more powerful than Him, ursurping His authority. Scripture shows that's not the case.

I agree with the second commenter, also. I see no reason why we shouldn't pray for protection from natural disasters, as would would pray about anything else. The outcome is still in the soverign hands of God.

I also agree with Argent.

Good stuff!

Lisa

Hector, I think I would be very comfortable praying for God to spare my life during a tornado. I've actually done this.

We know, of course, that God has the ultimate power. With the free will given us, maybe those that are praying out for safety during these disaster times are the ones that are saved from harm. This is just a thought. Of course, we all have our determined time that is ours to die, but I also believe this senario: A woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer---late stage. There is nothing to do but pray for healing. Because of the novenas, prayers, pleadings with God, she is spared and healed. If these people had chosen not to pray and ask God for his miracle, she would have died. This WAS the plan.

Does this make any sense? I feel that the same can happen with natural disaster. Who really knows, though?

Lorna

"Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He calms the children."

What a wonderful thought :)

Hector

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts on this tough topic. Let me clarify my thoughts because I think they may have been confused… Like most of you I believe that God is very involved with us in our daily lives, he is not a watchmaker who created all of us and then went to sleep. I believe that God has power over all things, visible and invisible, so he could change winds, floods, and volcanoes if He wanted to. In fact, the somewhat recent miracle of the sun in Fatima is just one example of God’s dominion over the universe, so He definitely can alter nature. I believe that we should always pray and put our fears and anxieties in his hands, just the same way we should thank Him for all the wonderful things in life. I like what Maggie said, “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He calms the children.” I believe in and have personally experience miracles of health, so I will always pray for health.

For some reason I’m stuck with the question of natural phenomena. Close to 100,000 people died from these natural disasters in 2005. If I’m in New Orleans praying during floods and somehow survive, while all my neighbors died, does that mean I had more faith? Did they not pray enough? We can think that maybe it was not “my time,” but it was theirs. It’s hard to apply this to twenty thousand people dying at the same time during an earthquake. Perhaps it is one of those mysteries we will only learn about when we get to heaven, God willing. The one thought that I gained while reading all of your responses is that I must and will pray in the event of a fatal natural disaster because life is a precious gift. If nothing else, it is a way for me to share with God how much I value life.

Steve Bogner

Interesting stuff; I can see how it touches on predestination, too. My approach to prayer in times of trouble isn't for God to bail me out, but to grant me the strength and courage to face what comes, to work through it and to stay focused on God's will instead of mine.

TO

There's no harm in asking -- but God's answer might be no! :)

Jean

We can always pray for our protection against these things, but He may have greater things in mind for us. We need to pray in union with His will and pray for the grace to accept His will in our lives.

God bless you,

Debi

Hector, you said, "For some reason I’m stuck with the question of natural phenomena. Close to 100,000 people died from these natural disasters in 2005. If I’m in New Orleans praying during floods and somehow survive, while all my neighbors died, does that mean I had more faith? Did they not pray enough? We can think that maybe it was not “my time,” but it was theirs. It’s hard to apply this to twenty thousand people dying at the same time during an earthquake. Perhaps it is one of those mysteries we will only learn about when we get to heaven, God willing."

I would never say I had more faith than someone else because I survived and they did not. Nor would I think they didn't pray enough. I would believe, as you mention in the latter part of that paragraph, that it was in God's plan for my life to be spared. We don't always know the reason for these things happening until much later (sometimes days, weeks, months, years - or maybe never). And I agree, that we will not know the real answer until we're called home to heaven.

An old boyfriend of mine died in a car accident when he was 24 years old. For years, I asked God "why?" -- and I've come to the conclusion that perhaps he was closer to God at that time in his life than he would ever be for the rest of his life - and God knew that. You see, he had strayed away, and was just starting to return to church and studying the bible. He was once again feeling close to God ... but knowing his personality - I wouldn't be surprised if he would have strayed away from God again at some point. I find comfort knowing that God called him "home" when he was close to Him. It may not even be the real explanation, but it has provided me comfort over these past 20 years since.

God Bless!

The comments to this entry are closed.