A Natural Disaster With No One to Blame
By Michael Hidalgo
June 29, 2012
Michael is the lead pastor of Denver Community Church and lives with his wife and children in downtown Denver, Colo. His first book with InterVarsity Press, UnLost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For, is due out in March 2014. He blogs regularly at michael-hidalgo.com. Follow him on Twitter @michaelhidalgo.
Colorado Springs must have really angered God.
I’m not sure what they’ve done, but He has to have a reason for burning up homes and possessions. Because if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that God uses natural disasters to send messages to certain groups who defy Him.
How else could we explain what’s happening? Mark 4 tells us Jesus controls the wind. And it is largely the wind that has caused the fire to spread. Perhaps we should heed the warning Jesus gave to his followers in Luke 13 and repent, or else face the reality of perishing.
Is it possible groups like Compassion International and Bibles for the World have secretly condoned certain sins that will, in the end, keep people out of the Kingdom of God? What terrible message might God be sending to groups like HCJB Global and Biblica? This fire must be a warning to them, and everyone else, to repent. They need to step up and reaffirm the Evangelical tradition. They must turn back from distorting whatever it is they have distorted about God’s character.
Does this sound ridiculous?
Of course it does. And yet, this is the exact logic that Evangelical leaders have applied to several disasters, catastrophes and atrocities. Katrina. The 2010 Haiti earthquake. A 2012 tornado in Minneapolis. The horror of 9/11. All of these and plenty more were claimed as God’s action against certain groups of people believed to be evil.
The truth is that these certain groups of people are no more evil than anyone else. They just happen to think differently on certain issues than those who claim God is judging them. In fact, many within these certain groups claim to be Christians. Lots of them do all they can to follow Jesus and serve the world in which they live.
My question is, why are the leaders who claim that God acts through natural disasters so quiet all of a sudden?
And now, we have a disaster that has befallen the city of Colorado Springs. My question is, why are the leaders who claim that God acts through natural disasters so quiet all of a sudden?
Perhaps it’s because Colorado Springs is well known for it’s many conservative, Evangelical churches and organizations. Focus on the Family, The Navigators and many other high profile Evangelical groups are all based out of there. Surely, if that’s the case, the fire can't be from God. He wouldn’t ever send a message like this to people like that, right?
If God sends warnings to repent through disasters, then we have to ask what message He is sending now. Or maybe it's that God only sends messages through certain catastrophes? If that's the case, then how can we know for sure which is which? The more churches in the area, the less likely a natural disaster is to be God's judgment? What kind of churches do they have to be? Do house churches count?
It seems the only thing these leaders who blame others for natural disasters have admitted is they believe God can’t possibly put up with others who are not like them. While they seem to enjoy the opportunity to blame and level accusation, they forget God is not the one who is called “the accuser.”
We always have to remember we are all the same. Which means you and I are just like the groups who are labeled as evil. And we are also like those who cast blame on them. All of us are men and women in need of liberation by God’s mercy and grace.
God is the one who sends rain on those who practice justice and those who support injustice. He is gracious, compassionate and merciful. As Christians then, let our response be like Him.
In the midst of the Colorado fires, and any disaster, the first response of Christians should be to reflect the grace, compassion and mercy of Jesus. We are called to care for all who—regardless of their opinions, affiliations, beliefs—have lost everything. Perhaps, if we do this this, people will see and know God is not angry.