Ask Your Preacher
Did God create earthquakes and other disasters on this earth?
Dear Magnitude 8.9,
God didn’t create earthquakes and other disasters; natural disasters are a byproduct of sin. When God created the universe, He made everything good (Gen 1:31). The world didn’t have disease, thorns, suffering, and all the other problems we see today. Originally, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8). It is only after Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden because of their sin that all the problems we see today began. The first recorded earthquake didn’t happen until the days of Noah when all the world had turned to violence and evil (Gen 6:5-7). When the world was flooded because of sin, God broke open the fountains of the deep, which would surely have quaked the planet (Gen 7:11). The first recorded natural disaster (Noah’s flood) was caused because of sin. It was mankind’s sin that forced God to flood the Earth to save Noah’s righteous family (1 Pet 3:20). God wanted paradise and peace for mankind, but we have warped His creation because of our sin.
Our hearts go out to those in Japan in this terrible time of suffering. The devastation in Japan is a reminder that this world is a place of great turmoil and how important it is to place our faith in God while we wait for our eternal home (Heb 11:16).
How do I console my daughter who just revealed to me that a trusted grandpa figure exposed himself to her multiple times when she was younger? This man knows the Bible and is involved in children’s ministry at a Christian church (not church of Christ).
Dear Horrified Mother,
Oh, what dark and troublesome times we live in that such things would happen to children! We can’t give you the exact words to say, nor can we give you a crash course in counseling via the internet. What we can do is point out a few verses that deal with tragedy and may be useful when talking with your daughter.
- Listen. Many times the greatest tool you have to help someone who is suffering is simply to use your ears. You can’t remove the hurt they are feeling; each heart knows its own sorrows (Pr 14:10), but you can do a great deal of good by being “swift to hear” (Jas 1:19).
- Rom 8:28 is a great comfort to many people because it gives them hope. God is able to turn tragedy into victory when we trust Him and live our lives His way. All things are possible through God (Php 4:13).
- Some of the greatest people of the Bible have dealt with great sorrow, tragedy, and depression – read our post “I’ve Got The Joy, Joy, Joy” for examples.
- You may recommend reading the Psalms to her, if she asks for advice. The Psalms can give great comfort to people when human words aren’t enough.
- Stand by her if she chooses to expose this man and his sin. He is endangering others, and if she has the strength, justice should be upheld. Darkness should be exposed by the light (Eph 5:11).
We know that these are a paltry help for such a great pain, but many times words are the least effective at times like this. As we said, many times the greatest tool is a loving and listening ear.
Recently, we received an anonymous question from a woman in Holland (the post was entitled “Pushing Forward, Looking Back”). This post is in hopes that we can reach her. At the time, we said we didn’t have any contacts in that part of the world, and it wasn’t possible for us to find a congregation in the area. Since then, a kind and faithful brother has reached out to us and provided a contact number for a godly preacher in the Netherlands. Ma’am, if you are still reading, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can get you in contact with him. You are in our prayers.
I just want to ask if it is wrong if I often go to church and have my daily Bible study at home? And can you recommend a church to us; we live here at Yokohama, Japan? Thank you.
We aren’t sure if it is a typo or not, but if you are asking if it is okay to go to church often and study your Bible at home… the answer is ‘Yes!’. However, since you are looking for a congregation in your area, we are guessing that were asking if it is okay to study at home and not attend services. The Bible commands christians to not forsake the assembly (Heb 10:24-25). Though in some parts of the world it is difficult to find a faithful group, most countries do have congregations that follow the Bible, and they are often closer than you think. God never intended for christians to function without a local church.
We found what looks like a faithful congregation in Tokyo that teaches and preaches the Bible (we have no personal experience with them though); Tokyo isn’t too far from your location. Here is a link to their website – Ochanomizu church of Christ. It is significantly harder to find English-speaking congregations in non-English speaking countries. There may be a congregation even closer – contact that group, and they will probably have more information than we can provide. If any of our faithful readers have more specific information on a congregation near Yokohama, please send it to us at email@example.com. Also, if the writer of this question will e-mail us with their contact information, we can pass along any additional details we get.
Will the world end on December 23rd, 2012? My little brother was wanting to know. I already know that no one knows when it will end.
Dear Soothing Sibling,
Feel free to do your shopping for the holidays in 2012; the world isn’t likely to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012. For those of our readers unfamiliar with the 2012 doomsday schtick… we will take a moment to explain this New Age teaching. The idea that the world is going to be destroyed or transformed on December 21st (some say 23rd), 2012 is based off of the Mayan Long Count calendar. The Mayan Long Count calendar is a non-repeating calendar that was used in Mesoamerica during the height of the Mayan civilization, and because it is a non-repeating calendar (unlike the Roman calendar which repeats every 365 days), it eventually runs out of days. The last day on the Mayan Long Count calendar is December 21st, 2012. Therefore, some folks are expecting a cataclysmic change to the world order on that day.
Now that we’ve explained what it is, let’s explain what it isn’t. It isn’t right. We here at AYP are pretty sure that if God was going to hide the date of the end of the world in a conspiracy-theory fashion, He probably wouldn’t hide it in the calendar of a blood-drinking, child-sacrificing, snake-worshipping heathen culture. But, hey, maybe that’s just us… (insert friendly chuckle here)
As you mentioned, God promises that He will return like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2). If there is one day this year that you can be guaranteed Jesus won’t return – it is Dec. 21st, 2012. Your little brother can sleep easy.