October 2017  
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Chappy’s corner “An Act of God?”

Two retired men were sitting on a Florida beach. Joe turned Fred and said, “Hi I’m Joe and I use to be in the furniture business!”  Fred replied, “I’m Fred and I’m retired from the hardware business”. At that point Joe commented, “Yep I was in business for 35 years, but then we had a big fire and everything burnt up.  Instead of replacing it all, I just took the insurance money and retired down here.”  Fred replied, “That sounds like my story.  We had been in business for forty years then a tornado struck our business and instead of replacing the place, we took the insurance money and retired down here.”  After a minute of silence, Joe turned to Fred and asked, “How do you start a tornado?”

Some tragedies are manmade; others are an act of nature or as some insurance companies say, “An Act of God”.  Five years ago the church I served was set on fire and we were without a place of worship for over a year. But thankfully we used the insurance to rebuild our church.  That tragedy was created by a person’s act, but right now in South Dakota a community is suffering because of an act of nature. Many homes and businesses have been destroyed, and I suspect a few churches in that town of Wessington Springs have been damaged also.  As the National Guard and other agencies work through the destruction, many folks may be asking the question “how do we replace what we have lost?”  With insurance funds and other resources one can rebuild a building, replace inventory and start up the business again, but what about those items one can’t replace.  The photos on the wall, that broken family heirloom or what about great Grandma’s Bible that is now in a hundred different pieces.  Those items can’t be repaired or replaced.

Another question many folks may be asking is “Why did this happen?”  From a scientific point of view one can share how tornados develop and do what they do, but why this town, why that house and not another is question that remains unanswered, or maybe the best answer is simply this… An Act of God means God can act in any way He chooses.  In our world we tend to think of God as some loving sweet old man, like Santa Claus who doesn’t care if we are good or bad.  Now certainly God is a loving God but God is also a mighty God.  Those acts of God remind us how mighty God is and how weak we are.  We are not all powerful, and unlike God we are not perfect.  We often do that which we shouldn’t do.

But the amazing thing is that even though we do what God has forbidden He doesn’t just crush us with His might or cast us aside as trash. Instead He chooses to give His only Son to pay the price for our salvation.  God didn’t have to that, but He chooses to send Christ because of His great love. The bible states, “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while were yet sinners Christ died for us.”   A fellow pastor put it this way, “If you want to see how powerful God is look to the cross and see what He was willing to suffer for us.”

In a world of earthquakes, floods and tornados we might wonder what God is doing, but the truth is such tragedies remind us that we are not all powerful, that we need God.  Those same tragedies also give each one of us the opportunities to offer a helping hand to those who are suffering, to reach out and show them that we care.  In doing such things we are serving as agents of God, we are performing mercy which is certainly an act of God.

That’s just my thoughts from this very wet SE corner of South Dakota

CH (COL) David Gunderson

JFHQ SDARNG