Camille, described by the head of the National Hurricane Center as “the greatest storm of any kind that has ever affected this nation by any yardstick you want to measure with,” spent less than a week ravaging the Southeastern United States. But in that brief period she left in her wake an unbelievable trail of death and destruction. It will take years to cover the scars left upon the communities unfortunate enough to find themselves in her path. And there can be no rebuilding of the damaged families whose loved ones were swept to their death in her fury.
Speculation as to why such tragedies occur is fruitless. We must leave this in the hands of a holy and loving God. This is a time not to ask unanswerable questions but to express Christian compassion in a concrete way. Many Christians have already been working to meet the material needs of those who have suffered loss; indeed, Christians should be taking the lead in this kind of ministry. And certainly they can unite in prayer that God will work in his own way to heal the anguish that material restoration cannot relieve.
There are valuable lessons to be learned in reflecting upon this event. We are reminded of the temporal nature of material possessions and of the uncertainty of life itself. Though we would not presume to call this an act of divine judgment, we are confronted with the awesome power through which God can—and ultimately will—pour out his wrath upon those who reject him. The scientific advances of man have been great, but God has at his disposal power that man can never hope to control or repel.
Even in tragedies such as this one, God can overrule to bring about good. This is a time for us to share in the suffering of the victims, but it is also a time to pray that even in the midst of tragedy God will bring men to himself to find the kind of riches and life that no disaster can take away.
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