See God in the Storm

People walk along the beach looking at property damaged by Hurricane Ian on September 29 in Bonita Springs, Florida.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

See God in the Storm

Earthquakes, tornados, droughts, fires, floods: Can you recognize the cause for environmental disasters?

Category 4 Hurricane Ian devastated large parts of Florida and shook the faith of millions this week. The hurricane that has since been downgraded to a tropical storm brought devastating winds of 150 mph. It has piled ocean water onshore up to 12 feet in some places—causing a 1 in 1,000-year flood event, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. The damage and death count will be assessed over the next few days. In the meantime, we need to ask ourselves some sobering questions.

The headline of the article seems ironic “See God in the Storm”—how could a just God allow or even cause such disasters? Indeed some have ridiculed God-believing Floridians, claiming Florida is getting what it deserves for refusing to go along with the liberal trends of fighting “climate change” and refusing to accept transgender education in schools. Indeed, the Floridians who support their state’s stand against such evil are puzzled—instead of God blessing them, they received a devastating storm. Why?

Those who ridicule Florida ignore the devastating drought and wildfires that liberal California suffered over the summer. Some say global warming affects us all, but they have a hard time explaining last year’s devastating blizzards that caused the deaths of hundreds. Indeed, the last few years have brought inexplicable weather disasters.

Future historians may even look back on the last decade, especially 2022, as a time of escalating environmental disasters around the globe. Right now, we are living through it, and we need to ask: What is going on? Are we missing something?

In mid-June, different parts of the United States simultaneously suffered storms, extreme heat, floods, wildfires and historic drought. Record droughts also afflicted Europe, while wildfires destroyed the homes of thousands worldwide. Droughts combined with an intensified heat wave combined with wildfires combined with a storm struck Algeria with a “tornado fire” in August that killed 43 people. Others suffered deadly “once in a century” floods. This came after the 2021 winter blizzards that killed hundreds in Texas. In 2022, earthquakes, floods and fires displaced millions of people and caught the attention of millions more.

Over the summer, the Western United States experienced its most severe drought in a millennium. The last 22 years have been the driest this region has experienced since a.d. 800. Even today’s advanced technology can’t buffer all the effects, which range from drastic agricultural failures to power outages. In June, thousands of cattle died in Kansas within a few days, apparently from high temperatures and humidity. At the end of 2021, a string of tornados tore through six American states, leaving 80 dead in Kentucky alone.

These disasters add misery on top of man-made crises. In June 2021, it was reported that 95 percent of productive grapevines on dozens of family-owned vineyards covering 3,000 acres of Texas had been destroyed by pesticides. In 2022, a lack of pesticides is causing problems. The cost of food is going up as farmers struggle to afford fertilizer and diesel.

Mankind has experienced many such plagues in the past, but their frequency and intensity leave us with an inescapable question: What is happening to our world? The answer escapes us—and divides us.

Particularly in the last century, man has contaminated our water supply, polluted the air, trashed landscapes, and ruined topsoil. No one likes pollution. Stopping it sounds wonderful. And in this, leaders see an opportunity to advance an agenda that goes far beyond reducing environmental pollution. With so many people concerned about weather disasters and the environment in general, leaders worldwide have channeled that concern into an agenda to reduce carbon emissions.

But will their agenda reduce pollution—and will reducing pollution end droughts, earthquakes, fires, floods and storms?

Politicians have pushed for and achieved reductions in industrial production, motor vehicle usage and other areas of the economy. The Green New Deal in America demands nothing less than replacing entire power grids and other massive infrastructure systems, “overhauling transportation systems,” reducing emissions from cows, renovating “all existing buildings in the United States,” and shutting down all energy emissions.

The self-destruction of our economies is worth it, they insist, because we will rescue the environment and save lives. It is imperative that voters elect them and accept their agenda, they say.

Yet many people—who themselves would love to reduce pollution—say the agenda of reducing carbon emissions to stop global warming and climate change is unscientific.

After cnn’s Brian Stelter told John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, that 97 percent of climate scientists believe climate change is caused by human activity, Coleman corrected him. “Well, that’s a manipulated figure,” he said. “Let me explain it to you. The government puts out about $2.5 billion directly for climate research every year; it only gives that money to scientists who will produce scientific results that support the global warming hypothesis of the Democratic Party, the position, so, they don’t have any choice. If you’re gonna get the money, you’ve gotta support their position; therefore, 97 percent of the scientific reports published support global warming.”

There are many other indications that “the science” on environmental disasters has been heavily manipulated by “the money” and “the politics.”

But if cars, cows and smokestacks aren’t causing climate change and climate change is not causing environmental disasters, what is? Many scientists recognize that statistics are being manipulated, and many others recognize the political and ideological motivations for the man-made climate change doctrine. But they don’t have an answer either.

Some religious people say God is using these disasters to punish the wicked. But they claim this only until they themselves are hit by a plague.

Is there a God? If so, why is He allowing people of all kinds—and all religions—to suffer?

It seems to be an impossible paradox. Mainstream religion offers more questions than answers!

The Holy Bible is by far the most-printed book in the world, religious or otherwise. It directly claims that God controls the weather. It also claims that this same God wants to save all human beings. Yet thousands of people who claim to follow God and thousands more who have never heard of Him die every year in weather disasters!

How can that be? Religion has no answer. Does the Bible?

Why God Is Cursing America

The Bible claims that God commands the storms and they obey. The first chapters of the book of Job state that God even allows those who serve Him to be struck by weather disasters caused by Satan! Nahum 1:3-5 read, “[T]he Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers …. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence ….”

Why is God using weather to punish America? Is America not suffering enough? Why doesn’t He send rain to end the drought? Why doesn’t He stop the raging storms? Few dare to ask these questions! But the Bible answers them.

In his landmark book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the late Herbert W. Armstrong explained that the people of America and Britain descended from the ancient Israelite tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. This means that end-time Bible prophecies about Manasseh and Ephraim apply directly to them.

In Leviticus 26, God specifically named the curses these peoples would suffer if they disbelieved and disobeyed their Creator. Among these curses are crop failures and debilitating drought. “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (verses 19-20).

God calls on His people to repent, to turn to Him and to keep His law. All have broken God’s law, no matter what political party one may belong to. Even most so-called Christian churches reject the Ten Commandments, especially the fourth. Repentance would stop the curses (see 2 Chronicles 7:13-14). Yes, weather disasters do punish sinners, and all are sinners, influenced by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9). This most certainly includes the ancient Israelites and their descendants in America, Britain and other nations who have turned from God despite having received enormous blessings and having had a personal relationship with God.

Job was far more righteous, and successful, than people are today. Yet through a series of disasters, he came to realize that his righteousness was worthless, as was his entire life, and his only hope was true repentance (Job 38-42). God then blessed him greatly—and not just by ending his suffering, increasing his wealth and giving him another family. Those things are all long gone, and Job has perished, like all men will, as wind that comes and goes (Job 7:7). The repentant attitude God led Job to changed everything.

God wants the same for Americans, British and all peoples, living, dead and not yet born.

If people refuse to heed God’s warnings, a curse might turn them around and lead to wonderful blessings. That is why God punishes for sin. The Bible records multiple examples of God blessing Israel by removing plagues and other threats when the nation repented.

Specific Prophecies for Germany

What about the many, many other nations that don’t have a history with God? What about all those who actually died in the plagues? Scientists, of course, have no answer, and neither do religious people. They presume that those who have died not believing in Jesus Christ have perished permanently.

Last year, Germany experienced record floods that killed more than 150 people. This year the same area is experiencing a record drought that may prove to be its worst in 500 years, according to the August report of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center. Experts believe that extremely low water levels in the Rhine occur on average every 50 years. But the river is now at such lows for the third time in less than 20 years. This has harmed fishing, the production of electricity, farming and river freight, which is harming the entire economy, which is already fragile and causing turmoil throughout society.

“God wants this world to learn that He controls nature,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains in Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany. “Many natural disasters are anything but natural. Soon, arrogant men will learn this lesson very deeply.”

The Creator of human beings and all things wants all men to learn that He controls the weather! Accepting this one self-evident fact would revolutionize our societies. We have plagued ourselves with sin, greed, immorality, perversion, contamination, war and more. The weather, which God controls, is getting our attention—but God Himself is not! We continue to ignore, disbelieve, disobey, refuse repentance and perish.

God hopes the German people will repent, but He gives specific prophecies to show what will happen if they don’t. As Mr. Armstrong explained, Germans today are descendants of the ancient Assyrian Empire. The book of Nahum contains a message to this group of people. Part of this message is that God “dries up rivers.”

The Bible reveals that if the German people reject God’s calls for repentance, they will trust a man who will lead them into a catastrophic war and great atrocities. In Nahum 2:13, God prophesies that He will punish Germany, saying: “Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts ….”

“God is going to speak the only language the German military understands—superior force,” Mr. Flurry writes (ibid).

If Germany refuses to heed this warning today, it will suffer great devastation. Today’s weather curses are a warning to Germany and the whole world of the evil that is about to come. God’s Word cannot be broken, but He gives everyone a chance to repent—if they choose to heed His warning!

All human beings have indulged in sin, and sin is terminal. If we do not repent of it in this life or, as we will see, in the resurrection, sin ultimately causes permanent death. The more we indulge in it, the more severely God must punish us to ultimately save us from it!

Understanding God’s Will

But so many have already died in earthquakes and weather curses that God has allowed. What hope is there for them? Christian preachers do not have the answer! Many think that the purpose of those who have perished is merely to warn those who are Christians. Many resign themselves to concluding that God is too great and mysterious for us to understand why He let these people die. Others think that those who perish will go to heaven regardless of their beliefs.

Jesus Christ Himself said that there would be many false Christians (Matthew 24:5). True Christians are a tiny minority. They have been humbled, called by God, led to repentance, and then received His Spirit. Only with that attitude and Spirit can a person understand what God is doing, “for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

Why does God allow suffering and death?

God has given man the ability to choose between Satan’s way of selfishness and sin, which leads to suffering and death, or God’s way of selflessness and obedience to God, which leads to joy and life. From the very beginning, human beings have chosen to decide for themselves what is right and wrong rather than submitting to what God defines as right and wrong. This, as Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, is the cause of “every particle of human suffering.”

As Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, when the first human beings rejected God, He cut them off from His Spirit. He is not battling to convert and save the world. (If He were, He would have a track record of terrible failure.) He is allowing human beings to experience the results of their choice as “aversion therapy.” We are saturating ourselves in sin and experiencing the consequences.

Our suffering serves an eternal purpose. We are facing reality, learning cause and effect. Ultimately, we will see our need to rely on and obey God. We will finally admit that human beings are under Satan’s deception, that we do not have the answers, and that we have no purpose or hope—in this life or beyond—without our Creator!

Understanding the truth about weather disasters opens the door to understanding the fragility and futility of human life—and it opens the door to understanding the indescribable hope in repentance. It also opens the door to understanding what even most Christians do not know: what happens after we die.

The Bible teaches that Satan is the god of this world and that God is not judging the world today, the victims of the 2022 weather disasters, nor the billions of others who have died until after He removes Satan, restores His government through the return of Jesus Christ, and brings the dead back to physical life in a resurrection (see Ezekiel 37 and Revelation 20).

But what mankind in general will learn in the future, you can learn today. Even if you and your family have suffered in a devastating hurricane, or if you have watched such events from afar, you can face such disasters and “be not troubled” (Matthew 24:6). By seeking God in repentance today, you can prepare to help others make the same choice in the future.

To begin, request Why ‘Natural’ Disasters and Repentance Toward God.