‘God’s Power In The Tornado’~ John Piper

tornado, huge terifying circular clouds, spinning clouds

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Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states, and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?

If God has a quarrel with America, wouldn’t Washington, D.C., or Las Vegas, or Minneapolis, or Hollywood be a more likely place to show his displeasure?

We do not ascribe such independent power to Mother Nature or to the devil. God alone has the last say in where and how the wind blows. If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command.

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“The wind of the Lord, shall come, rising from the wilderness, and it shall strip Ephraim’s treasury of every precious thing” (Hosea 13:15).

“The Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea” (Exodus 10:19).

“God appointed a scorching east wind” (Jonah 4:8).

“God commanded and raised the stormy wind” (Psalm 107:25).

“Even winds and sea obey Jesus” (Matthew 8:27).

Massive tornado system

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But why Maryville and not Minneapolis? Why Henryville and not Hollywood?

God has spoken about these things. Consider three ways he addresses — all of us.

1. Job, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job’s ten children died because “a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people” (Job 1:19).

Job cries out to God, “Why have you made me your mark? . . . Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy? . . . Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?” (Job 7:2013:2421:7).

In other words, Why Henryville, and not Hollywood?

God’s answer to Job is not that he was a worse sinner than the “wicked” — or that Maryville had some dark secret.

His answer was, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’” (Romans 11:33–34Job 15:836:22f).

Job’s loss was not a measure of his immorality. “Job was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).

In fact, perhaps God chose Job for that deadly wind because only the likes of Job would respond: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

2. Luke 13:4–5, “Unless you repent.”

A Tower fell and killed 18 people in Jesus’ day. Jesus spoke into that situation: “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4–5).

This is a word to those of us who sit safely in Minneapolis or Hollywood and survey the desolation of Maryville and Henryville. “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town.

Massive tornado system, March, 2012

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3. 1 Peter 4:17, “God’s own people are not excluded.”

We are not God’s counselors. Nor can we fathom all his judgments. That was the lesson of Job. Let us beware, therefore, of reading the hand of providence with too much certainty or specificity. God is always doing a thousand things when he does anything. And we see but a fraction.

But stir into your mental framework this truth: When a time for judgment comes, it usually includes, and begins with, God’s own people. That’s what the apostle Peter says.

“It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17Jeremiah 25:29Ezekiel 9:6Amos 3:2).

Therefore, God’s will for America under his mighty hand, is that every Christian, every Jew, every Muslim, every person of every religion or non-religion, turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus rules the wind. The tornadoes were his.

massive tornado  frontal system{source}

But before Jesus took any life in rural America, he gave his own on the rugged cross. Come to me, he says, to America — to the devastated and to the smugly self-sufficient. Come to me, and I will give you hope and help now, and in the resurrection, more than you have ever lost.

You can show your partnership in suffering, and help lift the load, at Samaritan’s Purse.

(This is a full reprint of John Piper’s Fierce Tornadoes and the Fingers of God, in response to the tornadoes on March 2-3, 2012)

He that can dash whole worlds to death,
And make them when He please,
He speaks, and that almighty breath
Fulfils His great decrees.

His every word of grace is strong
As that which built the skies;
The voice that rolls the stars along
Speaks all the promises.

O might I hear Thy heavenly tongue
But whisper, “Thou art Mine!”
Those gentle words shall raise my song
To notes almost divine.

How would my leaping heart rejoice,
And think my heav’n secure!
I trust the all-creating voice,
And faith desires no more.

Hymn: Begin, My Tongue, Some Heavenly Theme~ Issac Watts, 1707

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~ Jacqueline

This entry was posted in Events and Places, Guest Post, Nature, Preparedness, Spiritual Growth, The Christian Walk. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to ‘God’s Power In The Tornado’~ John Piper

  1. Sarah says:

    We asked all these questions and looked at these passages as we endured all our earthquakes (0ver 10,000 now and still counting) and lost 186 people in the buig February one. I found the one in Luke very helpful. We’re thinking of you and hope the Gospel is at work in those who are suffering…

  2. Gayle says:

    I visited this afternoon with a friend who does have an unusual gift of prophesy and insight. She believes these storms are mirroring unrest within the world. Similar to how we had the dust bowl days in the depression. We caused the dust bowl by our breaking up the land and not having good land management, and yet they also came at this time of unsettling within the world. It is a mystery and I don’t think anyone has the answer to this. Global warming does cause an increase in storms, and that is storm country, Hollywood isn’t. But it is earthquake country…
    It is a mystery and yet we must know that the Lord is with us. When we go through the rivers He is with us, when it floods, He is with us. And if we don’t survive, then we are with Him.

  3. Lisa says:

    Wow. What power our Lord displays through His creation. While I’m thankful to not live in an area in which I’m likely to experience a tornado or hurricane, here in the Pacific NW we do have to live with earthquakes. When I was a teenager, we watched Mt. St. Helen’s change from a gorgeous snow-capped peak to a destructive volcano — I’ve never forgotten the feeling we all had of watching “nature’s fury.” Of course, now I know that it is the Lord who is most certainly in control; may He have mercy on us.

  4. Laura Lane says:

    Hello!
    Read this with a smile; that’s how I’m writing it.
    I’m from Joplin, Missouri.
    I do not believe that it was God who caused the tornado here nor the tornados that recently brought destruction. Satan comes to kill steal and destroy. God, however, has used the destruction in Joplin to bring a unity to His church that has been unprecedented in our experience. He has brought people to Christ. He has caused people to reach out to friends, neighbors, family and strangers like never before. We still have people in temporary housing and still have people living with other families. God is working miracles through it all.

    As the stories come out, you will find that there were and will continue to be miracles in these new situations as well.

    For more information on what we’re doing with tornado recovery in Joplin, you can go to our church website, http://jfwc.org . (Joplin Family Worship Center)

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hi, Laura,
      I thank you for your wonderful words of what God is doing, and I am thankful for His mercies to the body of Christ. I wonder, though, if He doesn’t allow bad things in order to accomplish such works in the body similar to what we read in Job. Job passed through the ‘storm’ and came out better for it, as is your church and other churches. I thank God and praise Him even though I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. “God’s ways are not our ways”… I am always wanting to be open to discussion and appreciate your comment :)

      • Jaks says:

        God will allow things, such as Job’s story. However, Job did not die and God did not allow Satan to destroy him. I do not believe God will allow people to be destroyed. Horrible things such as disease, 911, murders, those things are out of Gods hands. First, lets look at sickness, Isa tells us Jesus died for our sickness and disease. Therefore, we do not have to die from it. There are many things such as fear and unbelief that will keep us from receiving our healing. Next, 911 and murders (anything bad from other people) is a choice made by people. God didn’t do it. You drive drunk and get in an accident and is in intensive care, that’s not from God, that was their dumb choice to drive drunk. In Revelation 12:11-12 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…..For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” We have the blood of Jesus and if we apply it by faith we will be protected from the evil of this world… from the wiles of the devil.

        • Jacqueline says:

          Dear Jaks,
          Please read Hebrews 11: 35 – end… “35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

          39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

          I respectfully submit that We cannot put God in a box, He is sovereign and “His ways are not our ways”.
          Grace and peace,
          Jacqueline

  5. Racheal says:

    God truely is a God of Power! He is soveriegn over all storms and works through them to further His purposes. What an amazing and even terrifing glimpse into the power of our God. To think–God is even greater than the weather that can smash and destroy in seconds! MUCH greater. When I contemplate this I feel extremely small–and glad that God is soveriegn…else I doubt I could handle life.

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