Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Man's helpless state

No, I will not preach. Not yet. I'm referring to China. An earthquake that occurred last week has left at least 71,000 killed, buried or missing. I can't imagine 71,000 people dead. That's several villages all wiped out, just like that.

I was thinking this is the worst earthquake in history when a friend pointed me to January 23, 1556, also in China. That day, more than 830,000 lay dead after an earthquake.

The worst thing is that there is almost nothing people can do about it. You cannot predict at short notice when an earthquake will occur, where exactly it will hit and to what scale. You can't do nada about aftershocks either, although they are a lot easier to predict.

China has declared three days of national mourning.

Did I hear someone ask where was God when all this was happening? Why does he let bad things happen to good people (ok, Chinese authorities have problems with Tibet, Darfur, Zimbabwe and Tiananmen square, but that does not call for an earthquake)?

I don't know why God let it happen. All I know is that Jesus told His disciples (maybe that helps) that when they begin seeing earthquakes, famines, pestilences and strife, when they hear of wars and rumours of war, they should prepare to go home. That doesn't explain why earthquakes kill so many, or whether those killed should be among the disciples preparing to go home, but it is good news.

The fact is that even if you survive an earthquake (like we all have), some day you will die unless Christ comes back and finds you alive. Some day soon, you will go west, either courtesy of an earthquake, a tsunami, a car crash, illness, heart attack... The question then is not the means by which we will leave the earth but our preparedness for the big day when Christ returns.

Man may appear helpless in the wake of earthquakes, disease, illness and other agents of death, but there is good news: It will end soon! One day we will ask, O death, where is your victory? Where, O death, where is your sting?

Let me share what a friend once told me: Live each day as if it were your last; one day you'll be right.

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