As a New Zealander, I was deeply saddened to hear about the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit north Canterbury in the early hours of Monday morning. As a Cantabrian, I groaned with the thought of “Not again.”
In times of disaster it is natural to ask why. Why do bad things keep happening? And why Canterbury?
A seismologist will tell you it has to do with fault lines and tectonic movements. But according to one prominent pastor, these earthquakes were brought about by the sins of those affected.
After the destructive Christchurch earthquake of 2011 there were some who said God was judging the city for its sins. As a former pastor let me say that is simply not true. This is not what the Bible teaches.
The gospel declares that the sins of the world were dealt with once and for all at the cross. If God were judging Kaikoura or Christchurch for their sins, he’d have to apologize to Jesus.
“Sorry Son, I had hoped you would carry the sins of the world but you missed some in Canterbury.”
God doesn’t have to apologize but I do. On behalf of all Kiwi Christians, I want to apologize to those who have been hurt or upset by these judgmental and misguided remarks. To those who have lost homes and loved ones, know that our prayers and thoughts are with you. We weep with your loss.
In your time of hardship you may be tempted to think, what have I done to deserve this? You have done nothing at all.
You may wonder, have the sins of my past caught up with me? Nope. All our sins, past, present, and future, were carried by Jesus.
Or you may ask, why does God hate me? The truth is he loves you more than you know. He holds nothing against you and longs for you to know his love.
A scripture comes to mind: “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end” (Isaiah 54:10).
This has been a tough week for our country, yet I have seen the character of Christ modeled many times.
I have seen it in the father and son teams who took it upon themselves to open the road to Cheviot.
I have seen it in the Ngāi Tahu people who opened their hearts and their marae to accommodate and feed the homeless.
And I have seen it in the good people of Kaikoura who, despite having lost their homes and businesses, put the needs of out-of-towners ahead of their own.
You folks amaze us. You have lost so much and yet you continue to give and give.
You don’t need a big city blogger telling you about the sacrificial love of God.
You already know.