Pat Robertson's controversial statement regarding the Haiti earthquake is a hot item across the blogosphere (click here). Without necessarily interpreting what Robertson has intended to say, I myself have some thoughts on this issue.
Though Scripture is clear that though God's final outpouring of judgment and wrath is reserved for the very last days, he do sometimes intervene in history to execute his judgment and to make his wrath known. He may judge certain localities (Sodom & Gomorrah; Tyre, Nineveh). He may also judge certain individuals (Herod in Acts 12:22-23).
Yet those who are spared from divine wrath have this tendency to be self-righteous and judgmental. In the early 1990's, when severe calamities struck Luzon (1990 Killer quake; 1991 Pinatubo eruption), a heard a statement which goes like this: "Mas makasalan ang mga taga-Luzon kaysa sa mga taga-Mindanao." While Saddam Hussein was being executed, he was mocked heavily by a crowd.
These attitudes were addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 13:1-5:
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (NIV)
Jesus' point is that they are not better than the victims of massacres and calamities. They too are deserving of judgment unless they repent.
He further told them a parable: Luke 13: 6-9 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, `For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' " `Sir,' the man replied, `leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "
The tree was unfruitful after three years of cultivation so it deserves to be cut off. Yet it was given another year of intensified care.
Based on these teachings by the Lord, let me point out some things we should think about.--------------------------------------------
1. Let us be grateful for the patience of God. The whole world deserves judgment and wrath, yet he withholds what we deserve most of the time. Instead, he provides us with good things.
There was only one killer quake in Northern Luzon for the last 19 years though we are sinners and deserving of daily killer quakes.
2. Let us fear God and repent. The patience of God as displayed in delayed judgments does not mean that the day of reckoning shall not come. Do not listen to scoffers who say "Where is this `coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4). Remember the parable: he may give you an extra year of intensified care, but if you remain fruitless you shall be cut down.
3. Be grateful for the gift of repentance. Repentance is the only way to escape from his wrath. Yet the source of this repentance is God himself (2 Tim.2:25; Acts 11:18)