First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Blessings of Hurricanes

Central Ave in Rahway

Wow, first an earthquake and now a hurricane. God must be out to get us.

Now that we in The Garden State just survived a massive hurricane, we need to sit back and think about what it all means. Some would say these are signs of the end times. Though I can’t speak for whether Jesus is returning or not, I can say that these recent events are a part of God’s magnificent creation and that despite the destructive nature of them, hurricanes are a profound blessing upon our world.

Hurricanes are a part of our planet’s climate control system. They push warm, humid air from the tropics to the northern and southern poles. Ocean water is also pushed along, leaving colder water to rise up from the depths at the equator. This movement of air and water cools off the equatorial regions, warms up the arctic regions and brings balance to the entire system. Hurricanes also flush out estuaries along the shore. Estuaries are extremely important to birds, fish and humans. They are breeding grounds for some of our most important food sources. They are also the barrier between the rivers and the ocean. As such, they end up as the dumping ground for all of the refuse of humans and animals. Hurricanes clean estuaries out like nothing else can, once again restoring balance to the system. Think of hurricanes as a massive environmental regulation system; air conditioner, heating plant, and toilet bowl, all in one.

However, hurricanes create destruction on a massive scale. And it is very proper for people, like the biblical Job, to wonder why God would cause such misery upon creatures God created and loves. In the book of Job, God responds to this question.

Job 37:14-18
“Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

This passage makes it clear that God created the system that produces the weather and controls it.

Job 38:8-11
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

This passage makes it clear that God placed limits upon the raging weather and surging oceans. God created the storms, but God also controls them. To what purpose?

In the concluding chapter of Job 42, the man says: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know”. Job acknowledges that God knows all, controls all, and most importantly, knows what is best for us. God has plans for us and our planet that extend far into the future. And these plans are for our benefit, in ways that we cannot fully understand today. Hurricanes are an important regulatory feature of our planet. Their destructive power seems cruel to those in its path. But the long term benefits to the earth are necessary for the health of the planet’s environmental systems.

Job concludes that God knows what is best. He doesn’t understand the functioning of our world like we do today. But he learns to accept the ups and downs of our existence.

We need to accept that God knows what is best for us as well. Our job is not to complain, rather it is to minister as best we can to those who have been impacted by this earth changing event.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill Whitehead

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