God’s assurance for the future

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

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Beginning on July 24, 2022, and lasting for about a week, disastrous floods ravaged the Midwestern United States. The event affected people from Texas, Utah, Missouri, Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, parts of West Virginia, and the Las Vegas Valley. The floods cost 44 human lives and 1.2 million dollars. I am reminded of the flood event in Carter County, Tenn. That flood cost the lives of seven people and more than 20 million dollars in damage. This year, many residents of California are now under the threat of flooding from melting snow and forecast for above average snowfall. The immense power of these flooding events reminds us of the catastrophic flood that God once used to destroy the earth in the days of Noah.
Considering the destruction caused by such events, it is not hard to understand how all life on Earth was wiped away as the water surged from the underground tributaries as well as the sky above (Genesis 7:11) and covered the entire world with a “mountain” of water for five months (Genesis 7:19-24)!
Today, when devastating floods invade our lives, government agencies step in to help local authorities and families to rebuild their lives. However, in the days of Noah no such agency existed, and any attempts would have failed to prevent the loss of life and property. Regardless of the agencies’ efforts to help those affected by floods today, there are things that only God can give people that suffer as a result:
First, only God can reassure them that despite their loss in material things, their spiritual treasures are safe with Him. Jesus said, in Luke 12:33 KJV, “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”Jesus reminded the Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:21, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
Second, only God can promise the strength that will help the suffering through any ordeal on earth. In fact, He promises such strength that they can face it with joy rather than hopelessness. Peter said in 1 Peter 4:12-17, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy … Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
Third, God promises that it is He and He alone that controls how and when the end of the world will come. In that final event on earth, neither nature’s course nor mankind’s ingenuity will be the cause. Genesis 7:11 reminds us that it was God that brought the devastation of the flood upon mankind and the world. It is the same God that will bring the end of the world and all those who inhabit it. In 2 Peter 3:5-10, Peter likens the end of time to the flood in the days of Noah. Concerning that day Peter said, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Such an event is in the control of the God of heaven and no man will prevent it.
Finally, God promises that His children which suffer on Earth have glory for the future. Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
There is no doubt that the suffering which people must often endure is great. However, when men, both Christians and non-believers, must suffer whether it be physical or spiritual, God has given us a rainbow in the sky to remind us that He puts a limit on the suffering of mankind. Most certainly God provides hope beyond suffering for those who trust in Him. If you suffer as a Christian, remember, there is a rainbow in the sky. If you are not a Christian, why not seek that rainbow and the promises of which it reminds us.
(Tony Hoss is minister of the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton)

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