Reminding us How Damaging our Sin Is

By Kersley Fitzgerald

As I write this, a tornado has taken out much of Joplin, MO. Before that, a huge storm system dropped dozens of tornadoes uncomfortably close to my friends in Alabama. A tsunami wreaked havoc with Japan. And a little F-0 spun around east of town.

God is a god of stories. Did you ever notice that? Sure Deuteronomy and Leviticus are chock-full of to-do lists. And Paul spends much of his time explaining how people have been living their story wrong, but God reveals Himself in story. Even Jesus used parables to explain God.

I don't mean to get all Donald Miller on you, but we pay attention to stories. We identify with them. Sometimes we even understand what they're trying to say. What I'm beginning to realize, though, is that God set up stories as an integral part of our lives to teach us about Himself. Have you ever done Pilates? If you're on your back in a Pilates class, Enya on the sound-system, and the instructor wants you to do a curl-up, she doesn't say, "Fully contract your rectus abdominus and internal obliques." She says, "Pull your bellybutton in so it touches your spine." Your bellybutton can't really touch your spine, but having that picture in your mind helps you know what it is you're supposed to be doing. God does similar things on a grander scale. Marriage, parenthood, childhood, nation, church, even Christ's suffering on the cross are in-your-face metaphors of complex spiritual truths.

"All creation groans..."

When Adam and Eve ate that fruit and got kicked out of paradise, God cursed the Earth (Genesis 3:17). When the people grew so wicked that God had to wipe them out with a flood, He cursed it again. (How? One moment it was a planet where people didn't eat meat and lived to over 900 years, and the next it was this place.) We are short-sighted, though. At the earliest, it's been 6000 years since Eden. How can we wrap our heads around the curse of the earth? Snow-dusted Pike's Peak is right outside the office window. A bajillion acres of corn and wheat are next door in Kansas. Soon I'll be surrounded by mountains and trees in the Northwest.

I'm beginning to think that's why God made weather. Like the abused dog that occasionally dares to bite the hand of its master, we need the reminder of what our sin did to this world. Sin made the world into a dog that bites back. In paradise, waters wouldn't threaten thousands of homes in Louisiana. Or millions of homes in Bangladesh. A volcano wouldn't threaten an African city of one million — many of them refugees.

This is what our sin did to the planet, and this is what our sin does to each other. It rips apart homes. It separates loved ones. It hurts and kills. Our sin can be the sudden explosion of a tornado or the slow, destructive crawl of a lava flow, but it always destroys — and always on a far greater scale than we imagine.

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Published 6-2-11