Ask Your Preacher
If the devil influenced Osama Bin Laden to kill so many people, what happened to the people who were killed that had not yet given their lives to Christ?
Osama bin Laden’s death marks a major victory for us Americans, and it brings our minds back to that fateful day on September 11, 2001 when so many perished because of the desire of that man to follow the Quran to its ultimate end – death of all the infidels (non-Muslims).
So, since so many people died so unexpectedly through Osama’s acts of terrorism, what does happen to them? All death is unexpected, meaning that none of us know when we will die. Our lives are merely vapors that quickly vanish (Jas 4:14). Because of the uncertainty of life, David prayed that God would teach him to contemplate his own death and to measure his days (Ps 39:4). Whether we die quietly in our sleep at a ripe old age or suddenly in a car crash in our early twenties… the effect is the same – we must be ready to meet our God. We all must ask that all-important question: “What must I do to be saved?”… because we never know when we will go to the judgment (Heb 9:27).
How much longer? How much longer do you think until Jesus will come? I know we will never know, but if you could guess, what would you say? Is the world coming to an end? Thank you.
Dear Best Guess,
The world is definitely coming to an end, but when that end will come is known only to God. Peter tells us that the world will eventually be destroyed by intense heat, but God is waiting patiently because of His love for mankind and His desire that we all repent (2 Pet 3:9-10).
The Bible specifically says that the Second Coming of Christ will come like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:1-2). Jesus will return when people least expect Him. That is a promise from God, so guessing when it will happen isn’t productive. The apostle Paul warned all christians to live their lives soberly, so they would be prepared whenever that great day might come (1 Thess 5:4-8). Whether Christ returns in your lifetime or whether you die before you go and face the judgment, live your life, so at Christ’s appearing, you shall be saved (Heb 9:27-28). If you don’t know what the Bible says about salvation, we recommend you read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”.
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 email@example.com, so we can get you in contact with him. You are in our prayers.