Destruction has been around a long time.
Three thousand years ago an ancient chronicler recorded these words about his world: “In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another,” 2 Chronicles 15:5-6.
About 2,000 years ago Jesus predicted, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven,” Luke 21:10-11. Is there no end to destruction? Is the world doomed to suffer forever?
Good news! Approximately 2,800 years ago a Hebrew prophet named Isaiah promised, “Destruction will come to an end,” Isaiah 16:4.
Why Destruction Exists
Many people blame God for the cataclysms that devastate the earth and annihilate life. They reason that if there is a Creator why did he make destruction? Why doesn’t he stop it? They fail to recognize that perhaps God didn’t create everything.
Destruction didn’t originate in divine creativity. It sprang out of the rebellion of angels and humans in whom he placed free will.
The original earth knew nothing of decay, death, natural disasters or of hatred between humans. These devastating forces came about when Adam and Eve rejected the divine laws that bring peace.
As long as angels and humans loved the Lord and respected his commands, his presence shielded them from the possibility of ruin. On the other hand, rebellion against God removed Adam and Eve from God’s protective presence and made them liable to calamities. It’s not far-fetched to call simple humanity creators of desolation.
Jesus’ prediction of famines, earthquakes, pestilences, wars and revolutions doesn’t bring these horrible events to pass. He understood the inevitable consequences of mankind’s ever-increasing sinfulness. “There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again,” Matthew 24:21. Had humanity never sinned against the Lord, destruction simply wouldn’t exist.
God Uses What He Doesn’t Create
Although God didn’t create destruction, he uses it for mankind’s welfare.
First, God uses the havoc caused by mankind’s sinfulness in his people’s favor. Love for God doesn’t remove us from the effect of destruction. Natural disasters and warfare ruin church buildings as well as grocery stores and government offices. Crime and violence injure and kill people who love Jesus and those who don’t. What then is the advantage of serving God?
Consider Jesus. All his enemies gleefully rejoiced over his torture, persecution and death. Notice how Heavenly Father used Jesus’ crushing in his favor:
- Provided an eternally glorified body for him.
- Raised him from the dead.
- Enthroned him at Heavenly Father’s right hand.
- Appointed him eternal Ruler of the universe
Jesus’ experience serves as an example of Heavenly Father’s infinite desire to use everything in our favor. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” Romans 8:28.
Secondly, God uses tragedies caused by mankind’s sinfulness in favor of people who have not yet accepted him as Savior. Rest assured, dear friends, God longs to draw every human into salvation. “God our Savior…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:3-4. However, humanity’s calloused hearts persistently reject the God who provides every breath for them. This stubborn refusal brings about misfortune which tenderizes people’s hearts toward the Lord. Motivated by adversity, they call on him for salvation. “God’s kindness leads you to salvation,” Romans 2:4 declares. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9. “Our Lord’s patience means repentance,” 2 Peter 3:15. So our patient God uses the destruction he does not cause to amplify his voice that pleads for mankind’s repentance and love!
The End of Destruction
Good news—we are approaching the end of destruction! However, we must remember Jesus’ words, “When you hear of wars and revolutions…these things must happen first, but the end will not come right away,” Luke 21:9. God’s people will see rough times just like his people of the past endured many tragedies. The end of destruction is on the way but has not arrived.
But listen to this. “In keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness,” 2 Peter 3:13. Until that day arrives God’s Spirit will personally escort us through all the fearful times that precede Jesus’ return.
Jesus told us how to respond to the storms and stresses that afflict the world at the end of this age: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near,” Luke 21:28. “Stand up”— don’t cringe in fear. “Lift up your heads”—don’t hang your head in despair.
“In keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness,” 2 Peter 3:13. Creation’s deliverance from destruction approaches fast! “Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me,” John 13:1.
From the archives of Rev. James Fields