Meaning in Life after Disaster
By Dianne D. McDonnell
The beautiful thing about a new calendar year is the chance to start over. So with 2005 newly started-just what would you like to change about your life? Most people, deep inside their innermost selves, long for meaning in their lives. Each person seeks some lasting sense of purpose-- a reason for being alive-and at the end of it all, some understanding of what one's individual life meant.
The Asian disaster of a horrific tsunami rising out of a tranquil blue sea has imprinted each of us with a visual reminder of how life can end before we want it to. So with the calendar year so new and the lesson of the preciousness of living still fresh, how do we achieve some monumental meaning in our lives? How do we wrap ourselves around a mighty tree of purpose and hang on for dear life? How do we grab on to something that will keep us afloat no matter what washes over our lives?
For me that solid something that holds me steady is Jesus Christ. You see, he predicted the events we see unfolding. In Luke 21:5-11 Jesus told of total destruction of the temple at Jerusalem without even two stones being atop another. Note that this hasn't happened yet for we still see the "wailing wall" which was part of the temple Jesus spoke about. Next he warned of widespread religious deception, nations locked in warfare, "great earthquakes", famines and pestilences in various places, and "fearful events and great signs from heaven." But the prediction most on target with recent news comes in verse 25 of Luke 21, "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth, dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves". Looking at your own Bible you will see we are warned of "great earthquakes" in Luke 21:11, just fourteen verses before the verse I have quoted. So we can rightly understand the reference to "waves" to be what we call a tsunami. Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning "a great sea wave" which can come following a great earthquake on the ocean floor. Today many nations are dismayed and perplexed in dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the great tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. As of this writing, the cost in human lives is figured at 175,000 and still rising. The headlines of our newspapers tell us of the other costs that are indeed causing anguish, emotional suffering and "perplexity" which means feeling overwhelmed.
Matthew 24:1-8 reveals further details. When Jesus' disciples asked, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of this age?" Notice that the disciples understood that Jesus was to come to the earth in power and conclude the present "age". The reference does not indicate the end of the existence of the world, just the conclusion of this present way of doing thing. First Jesus listed widespread religious deception, next wars, famines, and "earthquakes in diverse places" or earthquakes jarring and ripping different far-flung spots on the globe. Certainly there is tremendous religious confusion today with a plethora of beliefs and variance of teachings-most of which are directly in conflict with the teachings of Jesus. Increasingly we see such great earthquakes, and now the sea being involved as well. There is a lot more that is predicted to happen, but clearly we are in the beginning of some pretty monumental events. How do we stay strong enough and wise enough to separate true teachings from false teachings, deal with terrifying natural disasters, and still stay sane?
First of all, let me reveal some basic points of hope for each of us from the teachings of Jesus and from all throughout the Bible.
For many people these statements are diametrically opposed to what they have been taught about Jesus and His plan for mankind. Why not print this out and check for yourself the Bible references that back up the points in this article. If you don't have a Bible you can go to web sites such as--Bibles.net, crosswalk.com, biblegateway.com to print them out. (My own personal favorite Bible translation is the New American Standard Update, as I feel it is the most accurate.) Study each scripture. Pray about them. Turn to God, "casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you" 1 Peter 5:6-7. Then watch this web site for a soon coming free online "Class 101, Basic Truths". The first lesson will be "Coming to God". These free lessons will explain these concepts and even more details. Step by step you will see-no matter where you live on this great globe-- just how you can be a part of this great coming era, and have meaning, purpose, peaceful stability, hope, and joy in your life as never before!
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Pastor Dianne D. McDonnell, Freedom Ministry
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