Is God Angry at the East Coast? God, Hurricanes, the Bible, and Pain

Global catastrophes sadden us. The images are terrifying and experiencing such moments in history are painful. Why does God allow this to go on? Is He causing it? Where is God in hurricanes and pain? Here are some answers that make sense biblically.

God Is Opposed to Storms

When God first created the world, He pushed back the chaos. He brought order where none existed. This is what much of Genesis 1–2 is about. This is why God’s focus at the beginning is the sky and the waters. He is pushing back the madness. He calls doing so “good.”

When God’s will is connected to natural disasters in the Old Testament—like the flooding of the earth—God is not happy about it. It’s a last resort. It means God letting His own work be undone.

Of Course I'm Political, I Believe in Jesus

Jesus is political. That’s how He died.

In this season of everyone pitching their political beliefs—including my favorite kind of naysaying, Facebook critics—Christians quickly get out of control. In the midst of it all, it’s really easy to lose sight of who is really ruler, Jesus, as Eugene Cho recently pointed out. It’s also easy to lose sight of just how political Jesus is and what that means for us.

Our Opposition Is Everywhere—That’s the Choice We Made

Jesus’ entire identity opposed the worldwide power of Rome.

I Dreamed a Dream: What Book Can Explain Jesus?

I dreamed last night that a friend I have been praying for finally became interested in Christianity. He asked me, “What’s the best book I can read to understand Christianity?” I was puzzled. At first, I thought, Mere Christianity, only to realize that Mere Christianity is better suited for a new Christian or someone who needs to become more serious about their faith. Then I was troubled. I didn’t have an answer.

My friend had asked me the question because he had recently heard me pray. While I was praying, he realized how much Jesus means to me and desired to believe—but wasn’t convinced yet—that there could be more to life. I assumed, in my dream, that the prayer made him realize that I actually believed that I was having a conversation with God: not just that I was petitioning, but that someone on the other side heard me, listened, and spoke back.

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What Death Taught Me Once Again

A friend I knew as Papa, Bob Moore, left a legacy today: God is big and suffering like Christ is how we show Him to others.

Both of my grandfathers passed away before I was born, so Bob Moore was the closest thing to a local grandfather I ever knew. I don’t think he intended to become my grandfather, but he became it anyways. By the time he joined Christ in heaven, his body was badly beaten from disease and a few falls along the way. I mention this because it’s in his suffering that I learned the most from him.

People teach us in different ways: Bob Moore taught me what it meant to suffer like Christ. I never heard him complain as a disease moved like a freight train through his body. Instead, he embraced Jesus in it all. For all the study I did of God’s suffering servant (Isaiah 52:13–53:12), Papa Moore showed me what it meant to really embrace what that servant, being Jesus, requires of us.

Passion Week is a Calling and You're Called

My friend walked up to me weeping. I asked him what was wrong. He responded, "I just read the Gospel of Luke. I think I need to sell everything and follow Jesus. ... But that's not what makes me sad; it's that I am so far from Christ. All these years I've been following Him and I'm just now realizing what it means to actually follow Him. He was willing to give everything for me, and I must give everything for Him."

I cried too. It changed my life. I wanted to respond with some scholastic copout about metaphors or hyperbole, but I knew that wasn’t the truth. Christ has called us to give everything for Him.

But I must tell you that God is still working this great work in me. And as for my friend, I recently brought this story up to him, and he said that God is still doing the great work in him as well. What we share in common is that Christ has seriously transformed both of us since that day.

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#Kony2012: Should You Donate? How NGOs Work

When working on projects, we often say, “Chaos will ensue” and we’re happy when it does because it means we’re making progress. It’s also often said that “Inventions should cause disruption.” Sometimes that disruption is good and sometimes it’s bad. The kind of chaos and disruption Invisible Children’s #Kony2012 campaign has caused is good. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, you can’t argue against awareness about child soldiers and child sex slaves. If we don’t know, we can’t do anything. But there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? The concern is, “Should I donate?”

I serve as the treasurer for an NGO, as co-chair for a government set-up advisory board, and as the president of a church.

The Delusionals Are Ruining the Fun

We’ve all met the delusionals and the crazies in religion, or at least seen them on TV or YouTube. The way that they affect Christianity reminds me of what happens in work environments: One person does something stupid or abuses the system, and suddenly there is an additional code or protocol that everyone else has to follow. One person’s folly becomes everyone’s regret. Among Christians, it seems that our reaction to the loonies has made us all act a little crazy. Rather than seeking to distinguish between the spirits of good and evil, and sane and insane, we’ve generally abolished anything that seems a little odd or difficult to rationalize.

But there is comfort to be found in what Paul tells us about how spiritual gifts come into play, and how they should be used. He addresses the problems we’re dealing with head on.

“Satan Made Me Do It” and No One Saw It

“Satan made me do it,” and no one recognized it. Is it just me, or does this seem to be an accurate adage for how the Christian faith often functions today? As much as we may mention evil, and its ramifications upon our lives, how often are we really combatting it? Resisting temptations is one manifestation of opposing the dark powers that may be, but it is only one among many.

The evil things that creep into our lives and communities are often the kind that we don’t recognize—“a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Most people can recognize a temptation when they see it, but there are also many subtle, evil things that slowly dwindle away at our dedication to following God’s will. These subtle, evil things manifest themselves in simple ways, like “reason” overpowering faith, and demonic possession being excused as merely mental illness.

Faith as a Gift

I don’t know anyone that authentically follows Jesus that hasn’t struggled with faith at some point. Some people struggle intellectually: they learn something new and don’t know how to compute it with their faith. Others are troubled because of crisis: Something horrible happens and they don’t know if they believe anymore, because they can’t imagine God letting the pain or evil they’ve experienced go unchecked.

A little observed fact about Christianity is that struggle is a good thing. Few good things happen without scars. (And everyone needs to grow up, out of the ignorance of youth.) No one ever lived a great life without some sort of turmoil. The greatest leaders in Christianity have suffered for their beliefs, and nearly all of Jesus’ earliest followers died for their beliefs.

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The Infinite God is everywhere, are you looking? I am dedicated to finding God in all aspects of life – the Bible, the news, and the arts. Because I find that the most fulfilling journey of all is searching for heaven here on earth.