Intro: It has been days now since hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern coastal Florida. The photos and the news articles of the devastating details are hard to comprehend; the destructive power of the storm that left its mark on much of the state. Even believers have been struggling to figure out how God could have allowed this to happen. However, we must never forget the world is demonically influenced by the methods of Satan (John 10:10). As well, don’t miss the promise nestled within the destruction: God will always take what Satan means to rob, steal, and destroy, and use it for good [bringing the promise of redemption, the return of the Son to defeat evil, and the establishment of the heavenly Jerusalem on earth].
It is true God has the power to rebuke the wind and the surging waves and they are forced to obey him, but we must never forget this world is not as God created it or desires for it to function (Luke 23-25). This world and everything in it is going to face the judgment of God. Human beings gave power to sin, even though they were in God’s Garden paradise, and from that moment on the world was subjected to God’s curse against sin (Ro 8:19-22). So, according to Scripture, God’s anger against sin is even experienced in natural disasters (Luke 21:25). Natural disasters always shake our understanding of who is in control, but we are once more keenly aware that human lives are fragile and possessions are temporary. God is good and we must always hold onto that truth in our hearts. Our faith in the Son of God must rule our lives, because we cannot serve two masters and making a choice between earthly possessions or heavenly treasures will come (Mat 6:19-21, 25).
In our passage today, the Apostle John wants us to remember those who believe Jesus is the Messiah are spiritually born again as the children of God. We are now empowered by the Spirit of God to love him and love others around us as we place our faith in the Son who makes it possible for us to obey the Word of God with our choices. Believers have eternal life—Jesus—and have fellowship with him. We believe in the incarnation; so, now we must choose to be the heart and hands of Christ in the midst of this natural disaster. God’s children will be revealed by the love we proclaim with Abba, as well as the love we share with others because we live in fellowship with him. Jesus is the Truth—a person of divine love and integrity. Let him live through you, because we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word/Truth of our testimony (Rev 12:11).
1 John 5:1-5, 18-21 NLT Faith in the Son of God
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing a Way for believers to remain strong in faith even in the midst of every physical, emotional, or spiritual storm. It is through faith that we defeat Satan and every plan he has to rob, steal, or destroy us as your children. Please continue to give us wisdom and understanding, so we are not distracted or tossed to and fro by the work of evil. We will remain focused on you by holding onto your promise to love, care, and partner with us to be a source of restoration. In Jesus’ name. Amen.