The annual cycle of hot air near the West African coast turning into destructive cyclones is, far from being an opportunity for God to strike at evil, a testament to divine wisdom and power and care. What can we say about the people who live in tornado alley or those who live near volcanoes? Are those lives and property affected the subjects of divine judgment? Are not the rains the rescuing lifeblood of some places?
It is typical for God to escalate his chastening. You know! The spankings get more severe. Judgment, on the other hand, comes after many admonitions and arrives without warning. This was one function of ancient prophets and righteous men. If God does not allow our lives to be interrupted we stagnate and we make idols of our accomplishments. I know of no prophet who actually picked Houston, Barbuda, St Maarten, St. John and Dominica as objects of divine wrath. Zero.
Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, Bandeh Acheh and Port Royal? All life swept away as in those places is more like judgment than the misery of being homeless and facing the loss of property. Lives lost in any fashion is painful and all passing of life is a matter of concern to God. We are convinced that the passing of believing souls is precious to God. So let’s leave the judgment to God (see the 7 Bowls of Anger in Revelation 15:1 and all of chapter 16) and know for certain that no place on the planet is ever not benefiting from God’s kindness and generosity.
May it be that the hurricane season reminds of the seismic activities – colonialism, the slave trade, the grand American experiment – that brought the western hemisphere under scrutiny and assured judgment and rouses the spirit of repentance. We cannot keep saying nice things about ourselves and be credible witnesses of our times. Even so, every turning point presents opportunities for the living.