Is There Hope in an Earthquake?
Intense tragedy often comes with a beautiful yet fleeting byproduct: humility. In the days after the earthquake, hundreds of thousands of blood-spattered Haitians were hurt, dazed and vulnerable.
While God took no pleasure in witnessing the earthquake and its aftermath, He loves the state of mind that such disaster often produces. In Isaiah 66:2, God says, “[T]o this man will I look, even to him that is poor [needy, humble] and of a contrite spirit ….” Surely the tragedy in Haiti created a comparatively humble attitude and a “contrite spirit” in many Haitians, and even some onlookers.
Overwhelming crises have a tendency to remind us of how small, how vulnerable, how insignificant we truly are. Sadly, such meekness is often short-lived. Nevertheless, God Himself looks to the person with such an attitude. He considers true humility gained through catastrophe a primer for greater understanding.
And He gives that understanding in abundance. Through the pages of the Bible, God explains in detail why such catastrophes happen. The causes are spelled out from Genesis through Revelation for those with humble and open minds (see “Why God Didn’t Stop the Haiti Quake”).
For some perspective, consider the Haiti quake in the context of a prophecy in Matthew 24.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is discussed in both the Old and New Testaments. In Matthew 24, Christ’s disciples asked what specific signs would precede His Second Coming. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars … For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in [different] places” (verses 6-7). Notice, in addition to the “wars and rumors of wars”—surely an apt description of the current state of international relations—Jesus told His disciples that His return would be preceded by an uptick in natural disasters.
In fact, Christ stated specifically that before His return there would be earthquakes in different places!
Notice also, Jesus told His disciples that famine—a shortage of food and water—and then pestilences, or disease epidemics, would accompany these natural disasters.
Can you begin to see the hope in the tragic earthquake in Haiti? This earthquake points to this prophecy from nearly 2,000 years ago, and is a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return!
Perhaps that sounds preposterous—a callous attempt to spiritualize away the pain and anguish suffered by millions. Sadly, many people, including “Christians,” will discard Christ’s warning in Matthew 24. Many, especially the scholarly, will mock.
But that is exactly what Jesus Himself prophesied. When we understand and believe the Bible, natural disasters like we witnessed in Haiti take on added significance. While our eyes well and our hearts ache for the victims of earthquakes, the tragedy stirs a renewed hope and confidence in the Second Coming.
Remember the instruction from Christ’s own mouth: Natural disasters are a sign that this present evil world is about to end. In Haiti’s rubble lies invigorating hope. Emotionally, the Haiti earthquake is gut wrenching. Prophetically, it’s a sign that the most exciting event ever to occur in the age of man is imminent! Jesus Christ is about to return!