by Jan Silvious

Our country has been harried and harassed by a parade of natural disasters in recent years-headlined, of course, by Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast with such force that the area is still picking up the pieces.

When there is great distress in our land that comes from natural causes, it seems that corporately we refuse to recognize the hand of God. Yet the Scriptures warn: "Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; their soul melted away in their misery" (Ps. 107:23-26).

The theologian Paul Tillich has written:

"The idea of the divine wrath has become strange to our time. We have rejected a religion that seemed to make God a furious tyrant, an individual without passions and desires who committed arbitrary acts. This is not what the wrath of God means.

"It means the inescapable and unavoidable reaction against every distortion of the law of life, and above all against human pride and arrogance. That reaction, through which man is thrown back into his limits, is not a passionate act of punishment or vengeance on the part of God. It is the re-establishment of the balance between God and man, which is disturbed by man's elevation against God."*

When things are relatively quiet, we forget that our God is all-powerful and that all the forces of nature obey His command. But when we see the ocean begin to churn and the earth move, we can know that it is God who is in control.

Listen to the conclusion of this passage in Psalm 107: "They reeled and staggered like a drunken man and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still" (vv. 27-29).

My friend, we may not ever see our nation turn to God as an entire people. It may be too late. But let it be said of you and me that we know where the power of the universe residesin the hands of our all-powerful God.

*From Carroll Simcox, Three Thousand Quotations on Christian Themes, Baker Book House, 1988.

From The 5-Minute Devotional©Zondervan 1991

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