After reading the first chapter of Joel this morning, I am reminded again of the grace of God. It is such an unmitigated tragedy that we so often take for granted the grace and blessings of God. We take for granted God’s grace and goodness both, as a nation and personally. There is an equally devastating tragedy that takes place when we hear of or read of a disaster that has taken place. Since it did not happen to us, we take it very lightly. If an earthquake takes place on the other side of the world, we take very little note of it because it did not affect us. No doubt, many may feel a moment of pity for those who are affected so dramatically and some may even feel compelled to donate goods or funds. However, we quickly dismiss it in our thinking. The danger that we need to be made aware of is that we do take it so lightly. We do not examine a disaster or tragedy for the meaning it may have, or that God intended it to have for us. We often ask the wrong questions when a disaster or tragedy does strike closer to home. The first question we usually ask is why? We ask such things as why me, or what did I do to deserve this? The question we should ask ourselves is why not me? Am I any different than anyone else? There is a sober moment in Luke when someone conversing with Jesus told him of some Galileans who had been killed when they had been offering sacrifices to God. No doubt they wanted Jesus to become angry since he too was a Galilean. It is possible they wanted him to become angry and lead some revolt against Pilate in a vengeful quest. Jesus asked them if they thought those who died were sinners more sinful than anyone else because they had been killed. Jesus was telling them that they missed God’s point in this tragedy – the point was that unless those in the crowd repented they would die in judgment also. Events such as 911, the bombing of the World Trade Center, the crash of an airliner, the slaying of a couple who opened their home to children, an earthquake or flood are God’s means of speaking to us. It is useless and dangerous to simply respond with a why me or why us? Those events were either designed or permitted by God to cause us to say why not me, why not us? Unless, I repent, I too will perish.
Let’s hope and pray that we will respond to God’s gracious warning of impending judgment as He speaks to us in this present economical meltdown that we are now facing and respond nationally with repentance. Next time that we read of some disaster or tragedy that has struck let’s not be so quick to treat it lightly, but let’s praise God that He spared us, and search our hearts nationally and personally for sin and repent.
Let's ask why not us?