Whenever a natural disaster occurs there are always questions. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Will my life ever be the same? Will I survive this? Why did God allow this to happen? These are all common and appropriate questions to ask during times like these. The Flood of 2015 caught all of us off guard and its legacy will endure for generations. Some have lost everything. Others were only mildly inconvenienced. All people, however, had to face the flood as well as the questions that come to mind after such an event.
Therefore, I thought that I’d offer a few theological reflections from this historic flood that I believe will be beneficial for us to think about as we move forward.
First, natural disasters like the flood remind us that God is ultimately sovereign over every aspect of our lives. God’s sovereignty, his supremacy, is a theme inherent throughout much of Scripture. Job tells God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2). In the Psalms we are told, “Our God is in the heavens, he does all that he pleases (Psalm 115:3) and “whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in seas and all deeps” (Psalm 135:6). Furthermore, Paul states in 1 Corinthians 8:6 that “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist…” He adds in Romans 11:33-34: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” God is supreme over everything.
This understanding of His sovereign will, however does not imply that God necessarily causes everything to happen. If so, that would make him the author of evil, and because God’s character is good and perfect, he cannot create evil. Instead, God allows and permits bad things to happen. However, he can choose to use these events to work together for His glory and our good (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, the flood is at least a reminder that we are not in control of things, however there is One who is. We do not live in a universe that is chaotic and random. This truth gives us supreme hope and comfort.
Second, the flood reminds us that our possessions will not make it out of this lifetime and that our heavenly treasures will never rust or fade away. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Third, the flood reminds us to that sometimes we just need to slow down and/or stop. All throughout Scripture exists the principle of the sabbath. Rest is important for us to have, therefore, God instructs us to rest. But in order to rest, we have to trust that God will take care of things for us while we rest. We have to trust that God’s “got this” while we take time off. The flood is a good reminder that we all need to slow down and learn how to rest. For those of you with children, you know what I mean! My wife and I had to teach our children how to rest during the days of the flood. It was a foreign concept to them.
Finally, the flood reminds us that God always keeps his promises. In Genesis 9, after the flood waters receded, God gave the sign of the rainbow to promise mankind that he would never destroy the earth again in that way. I’m not going to lie, after about day four of the rains, I was holding on tight to that promise. The flood reminds us that we have a God who, no matter the circumstance, always keeps his promises.
Whatever you are going through as you read this, I pray that you will draw near to God today; that you would trust his supremacy and know that He always keeps his promises. There will be more natural disasters. There will be more tragedies. But these events can viewed as more opportunities to give praise and glory to a God who is there and who has made a way through Jesus Christ.