09 April 2009

God's Hand in the Flood, Pt 2

The Red River Valley was settled because of its rich soil due to the spring water drainage through the region. This river seems made to flood. So are we destroying the beauty of the land by filling it with houses? In thinking about this I came across Ezekiel 36. It is a prophecy to the land of Israel. Yes, literally the land--the mountains and hills, ravines and valleys. God basically says, "Be patient, land. My people will soon return to live on you, to work the soil and build houses." See, not only is creation subjected to futility because of our sin, but creation's redemption comes through us, the redeemed in Christ (Rom. 8:19). (Yet sinful man's tendency is to abuse creation, so things like national parks are definitely good things.) And even if this weren't a fallen world, our purpose would still be to be fruitful and multiply (lots of houses) and subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28). So it is good that we dwell here.

If you have followed me here for a while you know that our lives as Christians ought to be lived in simplicity. One thing contrary to simple living is a luxurious house. In all the panic about the flood, it seems to always come down to one thing: people don't want to lose their house. I grant you that a house is a significant investment and many times a good one to make. Even a plain nothing-special house can require a lot of money. It is the biggest financial plunge most people make in life. So when people are concerned about their houses I understand.

But! As believers, Jesus calls us to simple living:

Mat 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Jesus could just as well added "floods" to the list of moth and rust. As this relates to simple living, I'm not saying buying a house is wrong. I'm saying that those who seek a simple life will have far less to worry about. Even if a house is lost, it was only stuff--not real treasure. As I see unbelievers in a panic, it makes sense. Christ's redeemed ought to be different. This also relates to the topic mentioned earlier about moving away to avoid natural disasters. I will acknowledge that there are certain places where disasters are less common than others. But again, as believers, is our goal in life to achieve the greatest comfort? Do we really need to find the easiest, most enjoyable place to live? Is not life more than this (Mat. 6:25)? Let's not seek these things, but rather His Kingdom and righteousness. Trust me--the new heavens and new earth will have plenty of good places to live.

It is interesting how revealing the flood has been. It has shown how superficial we can be. Suddenly our comfortable routines are threatened and we are forced to face the gravely serious reality. If it takes a natural disaster to get us to pray, then I say let's have one more often. As people are worried about their houses, their treasure, we can see where hearts are. As volunteers and home-owners work day and night to sandbag, we see where the treasure is. As I helped sandbag and witnessed the enormous effort so many people contributed to I couldn't help but think that Christians ought to be working this much and more for God's Kingdom. So much to save houses, yet so little to save the lost or sanctify the found. Where is your treasure? There is your heart--and your time and energy.

So what could be God's purpose in the flood? First, to His people. He wants us drawn ever closer to Himself. He's destroying our complacency. Second, to the lost around us. He is using this event to work through His people to deliver the truth of the real treasure. Scripture commonly portrays water as symbolic of cleansing. God is washing us. Finally, to display His glory. Whether hearts bow in submission or chests are beaten in defiance, God's power will be made known. For those called according to His purpose, even losing a house is made good.

As we fight this flood (and I'm all for fighting it) let's remember that it is by God's hand, and so

1Th 5:16 Rejoice always,
1Th 5:17 pray without ceasing,
1Th 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Loved the thoughts on simple living!