23,000 dead and counting. Ten countries affected. Billions of dollars lost. In just a moment, a disaster many times greater than 9/11 hit us, and nothing could have been done to stop it.
We get so arrogant sometimes. Even in this disaster, people are saying “if only we’d had an early warning system, we could have avoided a lot of the damage.” And perhaps that’s true. If they’d had a warning system in place for something that had never happened in that geographic area, then some might have been saved. It’s like saying we should have a blizzard warning system in Hawaii, you know, just in case.
Faced with evidence of our essential punyness compared to the world we live in, so many still feel the need to try to reassert control. And so anytime anything goes wrong in our society, somebody has to get sued. Because we have a right to a trouble-free life, and if anything intrudes on that trouble-free life, it’s because someone wasn’t doing their job. But the truth of the matter is, there is still a tremendous amount about this world that are outside of anyone’s control. There’s a big burp on the ocean floor, and many thousands die, just like that.
It’s also tempting, I think, for us to say to ourselves, “those were Godless dark-skinned foreigners that died. Nothing like that could happen here in America.” I think Scripture answers that quite effectively:
2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”