Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making Sense of Tsunami... A Christian Perspective.. continued.


This is the continution of Dr. Kroll's Article published under the title "Making Sense of Tsunami"

5 Is there any Hope Now?

by Dr. Woodrow Kroll

In the wake of this great disaster there are many needs.  Food, water, clothing, shelter-the immediate needs.  Many of these needs have now been met.  Does that mean the needs are over?  Hardly.  The real needs, the deepest needs are just beginning.

The greatest need of mankind is spiritual, not physical.  That’s why Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”  (Mark 8: 36).

 In the days ahead the spiritual and emotional needs of tsunami survivors must be addresses.  You may have experienced personal loss yourself and crisis and trauma counseling are your present need.  Those needs will be met both by qualified professionals and people who have a compassionate heart and listening ear.

Meeting the Deeper Needs
But what about the deeper needs?  What about the need for hope in the midst of your despair?  Who will meet that need?  The Bible says Jesus Christ will.

The Bible has a great deal to say about hope.  The word hope occurs approximately 71 times in the Old Testament – 47 times as a noun, 24 times as verb.  The word occurs approximately 83 times in the New Testament—53 times as a noun, 30 times as a verb.

That’s important to remember if you are a victim of the tsunami.  The word hope in the Bible occurs twice as many times as a noun as it does as a verb.  That means hope is not something you do, it’s something you have.  If you have the kind of hope the Bible talks about, it’s concrete.  It’s something tangible, not something you simply dream about.  You don’t just hope things will turn out all right; you have God’s hope in your life and that’s something you can hold ion to.

How can that be?  After all the people of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Japan and elsewhere have been through, how is it possible for you to have hope?    The answer is that God will give you hope, genuine hope, concrete hope, if you find that hope where the Bible says it can be found.

The Bible and Hope

The Bible speaks of a living hope (1 Peter 1:3).  It talks about saving hope (Romans 8:24).  It speaks of hope laid up in heaven for you (Colossians 1:5).  You can have hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2).  The Bible says you can have the full assurance of hope (Hebrews 6:11).  It speaks of dying hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  It even calls the possibility that we may not die the blessed hope (Titus 2:13).

  But in times of disaster, the hope the Bible speaks of that is most meaningful is resurrection hope.   Unlike reincarnation, which teaches endless births, deaths and rebirths based on your karma, the Bible teaches the hopeful truth of the resurrection.  By resurrection the Bible means that even if we die, it is possible fro us to live again.  We are not reincarnated into some other form; we are resurrected in a heavenly body, forever transformed, forever again alive.

If you want to know more of the hope of resurrection the Bible talks about, read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 15.

So what hope does the Bible offer you if you have lost friends and family in the great wave of water?  It offers you resurrection hope.  And how can the Bible so confidently offer you this hope?  Because Jesus died and rose again to provide such hope to you.

Here are the words of Jesus:  “Because I live, you will live also (John 14:19),   because Jesus died for our sins at Calvary’s cross and rose from the dead for our justification.  He can promise you resurrection hope.  He conquered death.  He paved the way for you and your loved ones to face death in hope.

Examples of Resurrection Hope
When Jesus died, His disciples’ hopes were dashed.  It was like someone punched them in the stomach.  They were in shock.   How could Jesus be their Savior if He was lying in a cold tomb in Jerusalem?  They didn’t understand.
But everything changed when He rose from the dead.  He brought hope to the hopeless.  The story of Mary Magdalene proves that Jesus resurrection gives hope to the troubled heart.

John 20 records that Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb early on the first day of the week after He was crucified.  Mark 16:1 recounts that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  But instead of finding a sealed tomb with their Savior’s body inside, they found an empty tomb.  Jesus was alive.

They ran and told Peter and John who came to the tomb to see for themselves.  But when they too left, Mary remained behind, weeping over the body of Jesus.  Suddenly Jesus spoke to her.  She thought it was the gardener so she asked where they had taken Jesus’ body.  When Jesus spoke Mary’s name, she recognized Him.  He was no longer dead but alive.  Her troubled heart received hope from the resurrected Lord.

For Cleopas the story was much the same.  Jesus gave him hope for the disappointed heart.  Often when you are disappointed your friends will tell you, “Time heals all wounds,” but you know that’s not true.  What your need is hope, not time.  Cleopas was disappointed as he walked back to Emmaus the day Jesus rose from the dead.  He was disappointed in Jesus.  He thought Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the world, but now look at Him.  He was shamefully crucified and put into a grave.

Just then the resurrected Lord walked behind Cleopas and his friend and soon He was teaching them from the Law and the Prophets all about Himself.  Cleopas knew Jesus was alive.  He rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others because his disappointed heart received hope from the resurrected Lord.

And Thomas received hope for his doubting heart when he encountered the living Jesus.  When Jesus first appeared to His disciples Thomas was not present.  “The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘we have seen the Lord.’  But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe’” (John 20:25)).

Eight days later they were together again.  This time Thomas was with them.  Again, Jesus appeared in the room without coming through the door.  He invited Thomas to put his fingers into the nail holes in His hands, to put his whole hand into the gaping wound in His side, and to have faith that He was alive.  “And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’  (John 20:28).

The Common Thread

Did you notice in each case what gave these people hope?  Their lives were shattered by the death of Jesus; much like your life may be shattered by the tsunami.  But a personal encounter with the living Lord gave them hope.  That’s what will give you hope too.

Is their hope after the devastation of these tsunamis?’  Yes, but not in government, relief agencies, or other.  Our hope is in the Lord, the one who died for us and who rose from the dead to give us hope in our darkest hour.  Christ is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1).  He can be your hope if you ask Him.

6 How Can I Face The Future?
Facing the future after a tragedy is never easy.  You may have lost your home, your family, your church, your friends, everything.  How can you look confidently toward the future?  The Bible has the answer for that too.

God has made wonderful promises in His Holy Word, the Bible.  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

How can you enjoy the peace, future and hope God has planned for you?  By following the steps to peace God has outlines in His Word.  Here they are.

God Loves You
First, you must realize how deeply God loves you.  Even in the midst of tragedy, we have proof of God’s love.  “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  When God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you, that was eternal proof that He loves you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The message of the Bible is the message of salvation, hope and a future in heaven with God.  Whoever believes this message-Muslim Hindu, Buddhist, Christian-has God’s promise of everlasting life.

The Barrier to Hope
But, secondly, we do not enjoy this promise automatically for there is a huge barrier to our peace, hope and future.  That barrier is our own sin.

Again, the Bible says, “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10).  The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  The Bible says, “All our righteousness are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  It is our own sin that stands between us and God.  It is our own sinful nature that keeps us from enjoying the hope-filled future that God offers us.

The bad news is that you cannot rid yourself of your sin.  You cannot do any good works, say any prayer, and give any amount of money, in exchange for your sin.  It’s “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).  The good news is that even though your works of righteousness cannot save us God’s loving mercy can.

Christ Died For You

Third, it’s important you know this.  God sent His Son to the cross to die in your place.  He did it because He loves you and there was no other way.  God required a spotless blood sacrifice to pay for our sin and you and I couldn’t provide it, so God provided the sacrifice Himself, His own Son.

“For He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Jesus took on Himself the guilt, pain and punishment of your sin, died for you, and rose from the dead to give you hope.

Do you believe that?  That’s what the Bible teaches.

So what must you do to be saved from your sin and embrace the hope that God has for your future?  Here’s what the Bible says.  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Act 16:31).  To believe means that you truest that what Jesus did for you at Calvary’s cross when He died in your place to be all that God requires to pay the penalty for your sin.  Do you believe that?

Sin always has consequences.  The tsunami was a consequence of sin and the curse it brought to our planet.  “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Death came to so many on the recent tsunamis because death is the natural consequence of sin in our World.  But that verse continues.  “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Choice is Yours
The choice is yours.  You can be bitter with God, blame Him for the disaster that caused you so much pain, or you can understand that natural disasters are not caused by God and look to Him for a brighter future.  Which will it be?

If you have never put your trust in Jesus to save you from the penalty of your sin, to give you hope, and to provide an eternal future for you in heaven, don’t you think it would be wise to do so?  And if you think you should trust Jesus as your Savior, don’t you think right now would be the best time to do so?

Just pray to God something like this and mean it in your heart:  “Dear God, I believe you love me and you sent your Son Jesus to die for me.  I admit that I have sinned against you and I’m sorry about that.  I know I can’t save myself from my sin, but I believe Jesus can.  I want Jesus to come into my life and forgive my sin, change my future, give me hope and a home in heaven when I die.  Save me, Father.  Amen.”

If you prayed to trust Christ as your Savior, or if you’d like to know more about what the Bible says about salvation and the future, please contact us. (for address see page # 3) CL


*1 A.M. Rehwinkel, The Flood (St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1951): Joseph C Dillow, The Waters Above (Chicago Moody, 1982).

* 2 John C Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1961).  Pp 242-243

* 3 Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), P.6.

* 4  Normal L. Geisler, The Roots of Evil (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1978),  p.72. 

*5 Madame Jenne Guyon, ‘Spiritual Torrents’ (Augusta, Maine: Christian Books, 1984).  Quoted by Philip Yancey, in ‘Reaching for the Invisible God.” (Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2000).

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