What in the world is going on?
Hurricane Harvey drops 33 trillion gallons of rainfall drop on the U.S. Experts say the floods are a once-in-1,000-years event. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida. 185 mile-per-hour winds. Experts say the devastation could be “catastrophic.”
At the same time, Mexico experiences the worst earthquake in a century. Record-breaking floods are devastating Asia. Half of Bangladesh is underwater. 100,000 homes are destroyed. Forty million people face severe and potentially life-threatening food and water shortages. Russia is preparing to mass upwards of 100,000 troops on the borders of three NATO countries for a massive series of war games some fear is the prelude to war. The genocidal slaughter continues in Syria. Terror attacks around the globe. North Korea threatens to nuke the United States, then tests a hydrogen bomb and long-range ballistic missiles. And tensions over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem spike and then settle, and then spike again.
People have all kinds of theories as to what is happening, but the answer is quite straightforward — God is trying to get our attention.
These events are not random. The God of the Bible is allowing these events to shake us, to wake us, to get our attention, that we might turn to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and help us.
The Lord said through the ancient Hebrew Prophet Haggai that He would shake the nations in the last days. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations….I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22)
In the New Testament, the Lord reinforced that theme. “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven’….Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”(Hebrews 12:25-29)
The Scriptures are clear: the Lord shakes individuals and nations that we might let go of all of the flawed political, philosophical, intellectual and religions notions that we cling to that won’t give us true peace, that don’t give us real hope, that can’t bring us any security, that can’t provide forgiveness from our sins much less eternal life for our souls. The God of the Bible wants to shake us loose of such things that we might turn to Him, and to the life He offers through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord isn’t letting America and other nations be shaken because He hates us. He’s letting us be shaken precisely because He loves us and wants us to repent and turn to Him and call out to Him, as individuals, as families, as leaders, and as entire nations.
This is a 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment, for the Church, for America, for Israel, for everyone. “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
May we humble ourselves and seek the Lord while He still may be found.
HOW DEVASTATING WILL HURRICANE IRMA BE?
- National Weather Service warns: “THIS IS AS REAL AS IT GETS….THERE IS STILL TIME TO EVACUATE.”
- 5.6 million Floridians ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma(Naples Daily News)
- National Hurricane Center warns Irma is “potentially catastrophic.”
- “Regardless of where Irma makes landfall, all significant hurricane
impact threats are likely this weekend for the entire Florida Keys,
including catastrophic and life threatening storm surge flooding and
destructive winds, potentially extremely high rainfall amounts, as
well as a threat of tornadoes,” warns the NHC. “There is still some time to evacuate, and we encourage all residents and visitors to leave the Florida Keys.”
- Irma breaks another record, becoming first Atlantic hurricane to maintain 185mph winds for 24 hours (UK Independent)
- Hurricane Irma triggers gas shortages as panicking Florida motorists evacuate (USA Today)
HOW DEVASTATING WAS HURRICANE HARVEY?
- Harvey is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale (Washington Post) — “A new analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center has determined that Harvey is a 1-in-1,000-year flood event….There is nothing in the historical record that rivals this, according to Shane Hubbard, the Wisconsin who made and mapped this calculation. ‘In looking at many of these events [in the United States], I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude or size,’ he said. ‘This is something that hasn’t happened in our modern era of observations.’”
- Harvey unloaded 33 trillion gallons of water in the U.S. (Washington Post) — “The overwhelming majority of Harvey’s rains are over, and we have a new calculation for the total volume of water it dispensed on U.S. soil: 33 trillion gallons. This number incorporates the rainfall not only in Texas and Louisiana, but also in Tennessee and Kentucky, which also experienced torrents.”
- Tracking Harvey’s toll: ‘This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history’ (Dallas Morning News) — “AccuWeather is out with the highest estimate yet of Harvey’s potential price tag. The weather foreasting service now expects damage to reach $190 billion, or a full 1 percent of U.S. economic output. ‘This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history,’ said Joel Myers, AccuWeather’s founder, president and chairman.”
400% SPIKE IN GLOBAL WEATHER CATASTROPHES SINCE 1970
- Since 1970, the number of extreme weather events has quadrupled.”
- “There are now 400 extreme weather events every year.”
- “These include storms, landslides, droughts, and forest fires.”
- “This monsoon season has caused devastating floods in South Asia, killing over 1,200 people. The storm has left millions in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal vulnerable to food and water shortages.”
- “Almost half of Bangladesh is now underwater. “
- Hurricane Irma “has set a new rainfall record in America.”
- Weather-related disasters are increasing (The Economist)
- Short video on Twitter from The Economist
- Mexico’s strongest earthquake in a century leaves dozens dead (CNN International)
- “One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Mexico struck off the country’s southern coast, toppling hundreds of buildings and sending panicked people fleeing into the streets in the middle of the night,” reported the Associated Press. “At least 61 people were reported dead.”
- South Asia floods: Estimated 40 million across India, Bangladesh, Nepal affected (Australian Broadcasting Company)
- South Asia floods: Disease fears as floods destroy 100,000 houses in Bangladesh, aid agencies say (Australian Broadcasting Company)