“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24:44
Here is another earthquake that really grabs our attention. It must bring to mind for Christians the words of our Lord as he answered His disciples question about His return and the end of the age. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Mt. 24:6-8) Yet from our knowledge of history there have always been wars, famines and earthquakes, not just today. So did our Lord mean an intensification of these things as a sign that “the end” has begun? What should we learn when we see these things happen from a “safe” distance or even experience them first-hand?
Pat Robertson right after hearing the quake news spoke of “a pact that Haiti had made with the devil” to gain freedom from French rule and from slavery several centuries ago. He then went on to speak about the poverty, persistent troubles, and “destined” failure of Haiti as a nation because of this “pact;” especially in comparison to the Dominican Republic’s greater success though they share the same island. It is true that Haiti is a very poor country that has suffered under the oppression of one corrupt leader after another, even a former priest, who, when elected President, proved to be as corrupt as any former leader. I have seen and experienced Haiti. It could certainly be described as a “cursed nation,” but this “pact with the devil” is very questionable history. The Bible teaches that the whole world is under a curse; the curse of sin and Satan. He is called the prince of this world. Our own country has had its share of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wars. And earthquakes, at least from man’s perspective, appear to strike indiscriminately around the world, wherever the fault lines exist.
I think C. S Lewis captures well the lesson we ought to learn from these “markers” when he writes about war; though you could just as accurately substitute earthquakes or famines for war. “War creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to live under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war [or earthquakes] with “normal life.” Life has never been normal.”
But then we ask what about the great increase of death in earthquakes, or wars? Lewis answers, “What does war [or earthquakes] do to death? It certainly does not make it more frequent: 100 percent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased….Does it increase our chances of painful death? I doubt it….Does it decrease our chances of dying at peace with God? I cannot believe it. If active service does not persuade a man to prepare for death, what conceivable concatenation of circumstances would?”
You could sum up the Lord’s two chapter answer (Matthew 24 and 25) to His disciples (and all who claim to follow Him) in one word: readiness! Earthquakes and their sudden destruction only emphasize and trumpet what ought to be clear no matter the circumstance: The coming of the Lord is near, either in your death or His return. You have no idea when either will occur. What then is the condition of my spiritual readiness right now; and what am I doing about it? Yes, the earthquake in Haiti should get our intense attention.
“See the Judge, our nature wearing, clothed in majesty divine; you who long for His appearing then shall say this God is mine! Gracious Savior, own me in that day as Thine.
At his call the dead awaken, rise to life from earth and sea; all the powers of nature, shaken by His looks, prepare to flee. Careless sinner, what shall then become of thee?
But to those who have confessed, loved and served the Lord below, He will say, Come near, ye blessed, see the kingdom I bestow; You forever shall my love and glory know.”
Strength for the Day