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February 1, 2005

At 7:58 a.m. on December 26, 2004, 18.6 miles beneath the Indian Ocean, the earth shifted.  The 9.0 magnitude earthquake moved the fault line between the India and Burma plates 45 feet.  Enough energy was released to boil 40 gallons of water for every person living on Earth.  The shockwave was measured as far away as Oklahoma.

The resulting tsunami, carrying with it more energy than twice the explosive energy used in World War II, reached land with waves as high as 50 feet.  Waves reached the coast of South Africa, 5,300 miles to the west.  Even Mexico recorded an 8.5 foot swell.

Over 220,000 people died in over a dozen countries.  Upwards of 5 million people have been left without basic services.  Whole villages are in ruins.  Crops are destroyed.  Generations will be affected.  Images of devastation have filled our hearts with deep concern and moved us to prayer and steps towards physical relief. 

We are continually confronted with tragedy.  Each year is filled with questions about what we see happening around us.  Floods, droughts, mud slides, fires, earthquakes, war, the continual moral unraveling of society, blatant evil.  Is global warming a reality?  Have we gone too far?  Are these signs of the end (Mark 13)?  How are we to understand and respond to these events?

One sobering truth.  Before the creation of the world God knew what would happen on December 26, 2004.  If He knew less He would not be God.  It is amazing to realize that our Heavenly Father is not surprised by these events.  And, that He brings good out of what Satan intends for evil (Romans 8:18-39).

Its hard to understand.  Maybe even a little uncomfortable to believe.  But it is still true.  In all these things, if we will look, we can see God’s grace, love, and sovereignty.

We see God’s grace, in that while this world is headed for complete destruction it has not been destroyed.  We see His love, in that He is patient and longsuffering towards us desiring to see all humankind come to salvation through His Son.  We see His sovereignty, in that He works all these events together for His glory even calling mankind to Himself.  (2 Peter 3:3-18)

What we experience in life gives us great opportunities to trust God.

Because God is gracious, loving, and sovereign, even though we may feel physically and spiritually weak, we can say, “The Lord is my strength...He has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2).

In the worst of what may come against us, we can say, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4).

When we ask, “Give us this day our daily bread” we can trust in Jesus who said, “Don’t be worried about your life.  God will take care of you” (Matthew 6:11,25-34).

When we experience turmoil, defeat, and disappointment we can be encouraged and confident as we hear His words, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).  “I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).

What we see taking place around us should lead us to renew our commitment to share His Gospel with others in the time we have left before Jesus returns.  Those around us need Jesus and the assurance of life with God in Him.  They real answers - His answers, His hope, His peace. 

May His grace and love be with you,