Body, Mind & Spirit

It didn’t take long. Even before the waves had subsided and the stark images of devastation and death had been transmitted around the world, some people far removed from the epicenter of the earthquake and the tsunami had made pronouncements of God’s judgment and punishment. This is why it happened, some announced. God visited destruction on them, said others.

These ideas are not new, however. People have always found condemnation in natural disasters and asked “Why?” when these disasters strike; and the biblical citations from the Psalms, especially, could read like a contemporary news report. “The flood has swept over me” (Psalm 69:2) “and let me be delivered from the deep waters” (Psalm 69:13) the Psalmist prays.

But as followers of Christ, we know there is another Spirit at work in the world. As Christ himself said, “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). And as for deep waters, we know the comforting presence of the one who “leads us beside the still waters” (Psalm 23). Even the Apostle Paul gets into the act when he writes to the discombobulated Corinthian church: “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Indeed, there is enough condemnation to go around. It is easy to stand in condemnation of others when we are not in the center of the storm. Yes, we are sinners. We need not look far or deep to conclude that our lives and our world are a mess. And yet, even as Jesus asked from the cross, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) there was a spiritual tsunami taking place. God was accomplishing the work of redemption – not condemning, but making alive, making new, setting the table for resurrection and eternal hope.

If we look closely enough and dare to trust, we can see that God is still at work today, redeeming despite life’s hardships and misunderstandings. There are powerful quakes and waters, but the Spirit of God is more powerful, yet. There are people who care. There is a message of redemption to proclaim in word and deed. There are open hands, open hearts and open minds.

And God still hastens toward those who hurt and who have lost hope. This is the Gospel. This is our call. This is how we will heal, be healed and made whole.

Todd Outcalt serves at Calvary in Brownsburg and writes daily at two blogs, & He also contributes regularly to Rev!, Group, The Upper Room, and The Christian Century.

“… for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

– 2 Corinthians 3:6