Typhoon Yolanda (NKJV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: NKJV
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LEYTE AND SAMAR ISLANDS, PHILIPPINES, November 8, 2013. Typhoon Yolanda (also known as Haiyan) devastated the city of Tacloban and other parts of these islands. Yolanda was one of the strongest storms ever recorded, worldwide, in terms of wind speed (196 miles per hour). An estimated 15 million people were affected by the storm, over four million were displaced from their homes, and at least 6,000 deaths have been confirmed. A Wikipedia article reports that “the terminal building of the Tacloban Airport was destroyed by a 17 foot storm surge up to the height of the second story.” BBC News reported on November 13, “The main road from the [Tacloban] airport to the city is clogged with refugees and debris.” A Leyte congressman commented that there was a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” among many survivors. In a Chicago Tribune report, one resident was quoted as saying, “Tacloban is a dead city.” The Samaritan’s Purse Prayer Point magazine reported, “Survivors have been facing a desperate search for water, food, shelter, and medical care—all overshadowed by grief, despair, miles of wreckage, and the stench of death.”
Such a disaster not only touches our hearts, it also causes us to ask a lot of questions, such as, “Where was God in all this and why did He allow it to happen?” There are no simple answers to these questions, yet the Bible does give some insights. In Jesus’ day people were asking questions about a disaster of much smaller magnitude: Eighteen people were killed when a tower in Siloam fell on them. Some apparently were wondering if this happened because the people were guilty of some terrible sin. Here is how Jesus answered their questions: “Do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No; but, unless you REPENT, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4,5). He was really saying to them, “THIS SHOULD BE A WAKE UP CALL!” He is trying to awaken each soul to their need for eternal salvation.
I believe God has been saying to this world, “WAKE UP! You are pushing Me aside and forgetting who I am. You are representing Me as a permissive God who is tolerant of evil. You ‘call evil good, and good evil’” (Isaiah 5:20). If this terrible tragedy causes us to stop and hear His voice, then at least some good can come from it.
It is true that today the Lord is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to REPENTANCE” (2 Peter 3:9). But the book of Revelation tells us that the day of God’s patience will come to an end. In those days what happened in the Philippines will seem like child’s play. For example, it mentions an event during which one third of all people will be “killed by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone.... And they did not REPENT” (Revelation 9:18-21).
We have quoted three verses that speak of repentance. What is repentance? Literally, this word means “a change of mind.” We need to give up our own generous and tolerant thoughts about ourselves and begin agreeing with God’s thoughts about us. Here are some of those thoughts:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).
“There is none righteous, no, not one.... There is none who seeks after God.... There is none who does good, no, not one.... All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10-12,23).
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), “after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27), “then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14).
Do you agree with God that you deserve His eternal judgment because of your sins? That is a bitter and humbling pill to swallow, but unless you are willing to repent, that is, agree with God as to His bad news about you, you will not be able to benefit from His good news for you.
Here is the good news of the Bible: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). “Christ died for our sins ... was buried, and ... rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). “By grace you have been saved through faith ... it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Yes, the Creator of the universe (John 1:3) came down from heaven to suffer, bleed, and die on the cross for your sins and mine.
You may be one who is depending on your good character, your good deeds, your baptism, or your religion for your eternal salvation. These things are all good in our eyes, but you will search the Scriptures in vain for evidence that they will get you into heaven. The apostle Paul preached “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
You may be one who says, “I know I am a sinner, but nobody is perfect!” You are exactly right! That is why God says to us all, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).
Will you repent, that is, accept God’s estimation that you are perishing and need to be saved? Will you receive God’s provision of a Saviour who suffered so much on the cross that He might rescue you from eternal judgment? Will you place your trust in the Saviour NOW, before God’s wrath and judgment fall on you? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Paul L. Canner