Tag Archive: God is in Control

Hurricane Harvey: Where is God When the Flood Waters Rise?

houston texas hurricane harvey

Houston, Texas, and other coastal cities are under water, thanks to Hurricane Harvey. The devastation, suffering, and misery are widespread, resulting in horrific death and untold property loss. These communities, much like New Orléans in 2005, will be dealing with the aftermath of Harvey for months and years to come. The political spectacle in Harvey’s wake put forth by Not-My-President Donald Trump and Texas’ Republican congressmen would be laughable if it wasn’t for the backdrop of human suffering and loss. Trump, ever the narcissist — obsessed with the size of his penis — seems more concerned about the size of the crowd at his speech and TV ratings than he does the people of Texas. And then there are the hypocritical Republican senators and representatives, who just months ago who were adamant about massively cutting Federal spending, who are now demanding immediate and huge expenditures of taxpayer money to help Texans recover from Harvey’s torrential, record-breaking downpours.

The “fake” news media will certainly focus much of their attention on the aforementioned subjects. I want to focus, instead, on the irony of a state and cities dominated by Evangelical Christianity being inundated with God-sent, Noah-worthy floods. I am sure some Evangelicals will immediately object, saying that Harvey was a NATURAL disaster, and God should not be blamed for the devastation. Wait a minute. I thought the Evangelical God is in control of everything — that nothing happens unless the Big Man Upstairs puts in a work order?

god in control of the weatherThe Bible is clear on this matter, God is in absolute control of the weather:

And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. Exodus 10:19

And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. Numbers 11:31

For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Job 28:24-26

But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Jonah 1:4

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.  Jonah 4:7,8

He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.  Psalm 78:26

These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  Psalm 107:24,25

He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries. Psalm 135:7

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! Matthew 8:25-27

Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. Exodus 9:18

And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:22

Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. Isaiah 29:6

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.Genesis 6:17

Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers. The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Psalm 74:16

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 2 Peter 2:4-6

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. Genesis 7:4

And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Deuteronomy 11:13-15

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.  Job 37:6

god divine weather man

Now that I have established that what is currently going on in Texas is God’s doing, I want to consider the question, WHY is God doing this? According to the Pew Research Center, seventy-seven percent of Texans are Christian: thirty-one percent Evangelical, twenty-three percent Catholic, thirteen percent mainline Protestant, six percent Black Protestant, and four percent other.  Sixty-five percent of Texans believe that God created everything, including, I assume, rain. The dominant Evangelical sect is the Southern Baptist Convention. Megachurches are everywhere, including the largest church in the country — Lakewood Church in Houston Texas, pastored by the smiling, sending-prayers-your-way multi-millionaire Joel Osteen. I think I can safely say that God is big business in the Lone Star state.

When natural disasters, school shootings, and other tragic losses of life befall non-Texans, God’s prophets in Texas often thunderously say from Mount Self-Righteousness that these events are due to abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, evolution, socialism, Barack Obama, or any of the other hot-button issues that keep Evangelicals up at night — besides YouPorn, that is. Where are all these prophets now with their doom, gloom, God-is-going-to-get-you declarations? Surely the land of Baptists and Republicans is not exempt from God’s judgment. For what, exactly, is God judging Texas? Surely there is no need for anyone to pray. These so-called men of God have shown that they have a direct-line to the Evangelical God’s office. Is the phone line now silent? WHY did their vending machine, on-demand, pour out his wrath on Texas?

I am sure other Evangelicals might throw up the old canard: God’s thought are not our thoughts, God’s ways are not our ways. Who are we to question why God does what he does. Wait another minute. Evangelicals have no problem speaking authoritatively on virtually everything — including that which they know nothing about. But now that disaster has come to their front porch and is materially affecting them, they are clueless as to God’s purposes and design?

Other Evangelicals will likely suggest that Harvey is meant to test the faith of God’s faithful. Think about this for a moment. Last Thursday, God the Evangelical Father is sitting in Heaven’s Board Room with Jesus, Gabriel, and Satan talking about what he plans to do over the weekend:

Let’s see, I think I will send a hurricane and flooding to the coastal region of Texas. Jesus, tell Zeus, Ba’al, and Tezcatlipoca to prepare to ravage Texas with wind,rain, and flooding. Make sure there is billions of dollars property destruction and loss of life. And why you are at it, drown a mother and leave her toddler daughter hanging on to her for dear life. Cool, right? Sure to get BIG ratings! And remind everyone who dares to “prayerfully” complain, that I am the Lord God Almighty and I can do whatever the hell I want to do. Oh, and before I forget, make all of this a test. You know, one of our special tests that make absolutely no sense and for which the answer will always be a m-y-s-t-e-r-y.

I have written all of this to show the absurdity of invoking God’s name in the midst of natural disasters. The God of Evangelicals is a figment of their imagination, and no amount of prayers will stop the rising flood waters currently washing over Texas’ lowlands. What is desperately needed is governmental and human intervention. Imagine leaving everything to the God who supposedly has everything in control; the God who whispers in the ears of suffering Evangelicals, No worries, I’ve got it.

My thoughts are with the people of Texas, especially my friends who are greatly suffering at this time. While I can’t offer up a prayer, light a candle, or utter a “what the fuck, God?” I can use my voice to make sure that the powers that be do all they can to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Now is not the time for partisan political squabbling over money. People are in desperate need of help, and local, state and federal government agencies need to do all they can to meet their needs. Left for another day will be discussions about FEMA, the wisdom of building in flood plains, sprawling development, global climate change, and the Federal flood insurance program. For now, food, water, shelter, medical care, and safety are all that matter.

Note

After writing this post, I did stumble upon a couple of Evangelical preachers who think the flooding in Houston is God’s judgment over abortion, homosexuality, Planned Parenthood, and a former lesbian mayor. Damn, those Lesbians!! It’s all their fault. (That’s snarky sarcasm, by the way.)

First up is Dave “Coach” Daubenmire.

Video Link

And then there’s Rick “You are a Dick” Wiles.

Right Wing Watch had this to say:

End Times radio host Rick Wiles used his “TruNews” broadcast yesterday to declare that the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey is God’s punishment for Houston’s “affinity for the sexual perversion movement.”

“This is a proud city that, in recent years, has boasted of its allegiance, its dedication, its devotion to the homosexual/lesbian agenda,” he said.

Wiles asserted that Houston is under God’s judgment because it formerly had a mayor who is a lesbian, currently has “a pro-homosexual mayor,” has persecuted Christian pastors in the city and is among “the top-tier, most gay-friendly cities in America.”

“How’s it working out for them right now?” he asked. “Here’s a city that has boasted of its LGBT devotion, it’s affinity for the sexual perversion movement in America. They’re underwater.”

A Charismatic prophetess by the name of Pamela Banda, to whom God gives revelations of what will happen in the future, had the following “vision” on May 24, 2016:

Well on Tuesday May 24 2016, this is what happened. I got off work at 6 am and I was really tired. I ate something, got in bed with my son, and said a short prayer that went like this, “Papa Yahweh, in the name of Yahshua I repent. I ask that your will be done with me and Zion (my son) as we sleep. I pray for divine safety and divine protection. Amen.”

I hadn’t been praying heavy like I should, but in this small prayer I said Yahshua I repent. Well, I turned my head towards the wall and I hadn’t even closed my eyes for a minute before I instantly saw a vision.

I suddenly found myself up in the air in the city of Houston TX. It was daytime. It looked like it was around 10 am. In front of me I could see about four tall gas tanks and other normal things you would see in the city. I live outside of Houston, but I don’t know where the oil tanks are. As I zoomed in on the gas tanks I could see they all had thick black smoke coming from them and one had caught on fire. I thought it was strange to see tall gas tanks in the city because I mostly see them in industrial areas.

Next to the gas tanks was an apartment complex that looked like it was about four or five stories high. All of the sudden, the fire that was on one of the gas tank jumped onto the apartment complex!

All of a sudden the oil tanks caught on fire and, when they did, there was an apartment complex next to them that caught on fire as well. Then the whole apartment building just collapsed. I was in utter shock.

Then out of the corner of my right eye I saw a wave of water that looked around five feet high from where I was up in the air. So it was not as tall as the buildings, but enough to cause severe damage. After that it was like a ripple effect. When I saw the water, I said, “Where did this water come from?” I wondered because I was in the city, nowhere near the beach.

Then the Holy Spirit said, “The water represents judgment. Judgment is coming to Houston and it will be destroyed, desolate, and uninhabitable.”

Again I was stunned! Houston was being destroyed! I got scared because people were screaming and there was nothing anyone could do because it was happening so fast.

I closed my eyes and said, “Yahshua!”

I think the wave of water is what did it for me. Then the water retracted, but then it came back again with force and strong winds. The water was destroying everything in sight. Cars were being flipped over and everything was catching on fire.

When the winds came it moved me in the air and that was when I began to panic because until then I thought I was only seeing a vision. I began to hear people screaming and I suddenly realized none of us were not going to make it. So I began to think, “Oh no!” And I started yelling, “I Repent, I Repent.”

I closed my eyes and said Yahshua several times, then I finally came out of the vision. I opened my eyes and I was in my room, shocked at how real everything was I had just seen and so relieved I didn’t wake up in hell. I was made to understand that if you are in Houston on that day you will not survive. The sky was clear, so nobody was expecting it.

When I came out of the vision, I said to the Lord, “I don’t live in Houston, I live in the Woodlands.”

He said, “Where you are, you are not safe.”

So I prayed and asked Him, “What are my instructions?”

After that prayer, I went to sleep for real. I was so tired, I didn’t dream of anything, but when I woke up, I heard God say to me, “Tell them to seek me and I will tell them where to go for safety. Tell the church three things they need to do.”

If you dare, go read the comments on Banda’s post. Chocked full of grade A prime cray cray.

I suppose I should leave space for when John Piper, Al Mohler, and their fellow Calvinists weigh in on why Hurricane Harvey was all part of God’s master plan. John Piper, in particular, always seems to have time for defending God when natural disaster occur — that is when he isn’t too busy trashing and railing against the LGBTQ community. You can read Piper’s words about the 2007 Interstate 35W bridge collapse here.

Thoughts About Life and Death: God Kills Aspiring Model by Hitting Her With a Train

fredzania thompson

Last week, aspiring model and college student Fredzania Thompson was tragically killed when a train hit her while she was standing too close to the tracks. CBS News reports:

The mother of a 19-year-old Texas woman says her daughter was killed when she was struck by a train while having photos taken of her on the tracks in a bid to launch a modeling career.

Hakamie Stevenson told The Eagle newspaper that her daughter, Fredzania Thompson, attended Blinn College in Bryan, Texas, but wanted to put her education on hold to begin modeling.

Authorities say Thompson was standing between two sets of tracks on March 10 in Navasota when a BNSF Railway train approached.

She moved out of the way of the train but was apparently unaware that a Union Pacific train was coming in the opposite direction on the other tracks and was struck.

In this post, my objective is not to focus on the nature of Thompson’s death as much as the reason given for her demise. Sambreia Glover had this to say about her 20-year-old cousin’s death:

Everyone knew the real Zanie … very free-spirited, just goofy. Everyone loved her. She never met a stranger. She was just very friendly and sweet. it’s tough, but God makes no mistakes. It was just her time, but she will be truly missed.

According to Thompson’s cousin — who is likely an Evangelical Christian — God — who supposedly makes no mistakes — killed Thompson because it was just her time to die. She’ll be missed, Glover said, but hey the Giver and Taker of Life knows what he is doing.

What reason could the Christian God possibly have for killing a bright, energetic 20-year-old girl? Does God assign death dates to every human life at birth? If so, and if, as pro-lifers say, life begins at fertilization, that means God assigns a death date to every aborted fetus. This also means that children who died of cancer did so because it was their time to die. According to many Evangelical pastors, everyone has a divine appointment with death. The Bible seems to be on their side. Hebrews 9:27 says:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

This verse can be interpreted several ways. One way is to say that the appointment in question is the death of all humans, not anyone in particular. After everyone is dead and the events of the book of Revelation are fulfilled, everyone will be resurrected so they can stand before God and be judged. Another way this passage is interpreted — the one most commonly used by Evangelical preachers — is that everyone has a set-in-stone death-day. In Thompson’s case, March 10, 2017, was her day to die.

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the notion of everyone having a set-by-God death-date is true. What does this say about God? Think of all the various ways humans die. Think of all the suffering, pain, and agony people go through before drawing their last breaths. Think of all the bizarre ways people die — wrong place, wrong time, BAM! you’re dead! What kind of monster is God with his macabre, psychopathic, torturing-kittens ways of strangling the life out of those whose creation was supposedly his crowning achievement? If death is a divinely ordered necessity, why not let people on their death-day die in their sleep? Surely that would be good not only for the dead people, but also their families. Instead, God — the First Cause of everything, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last — throws people off cliffs, murders them in dark alleys, blows them up in crowded bazaars, drowns them in swimming pools, fries them with lightning, and, as in Thompson’s case, hits them with trains.

Some Evangelicals will argue that God, as creator, can do whatever he wants to do. The Apostle Paul makes this very argument in Romans 9God is the creator, Paul said, and we are the created. How dare we challenge God’s right to do whatever he wants.

Another argument made for God’s chosen methods of human-killing is that the more graphic, violent, and awful the death, the more likely it is that people will pay attention to it. Who wants to watch the Hallmark Channel when you can watch HBO, right? Since heaven or hell awaits everyone and this is determined by whether people are Christian or not, news-worthy deaths are warning signs from God. On Sundays, countless Evangelical pastors use this very approach in their sermons, giving graphic illustrations of people who died horrible, untimely (from a human perspective) deaths. The goal is to scare people into getting saved. I used countless such illustrations, hoping that congregants who consider their frail mortality, soon death, and eternal destiny. Such illustrations in the hands of skilled emotion manipulators usually lead people — with tears streaming down their faces — to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Thompson’s cousin also said that “God makes no mistakes.” I wonder if Christians, in light of the Bible, consider whether statements such as this are true. According to the Good Book, God created Adam and Eve. How did that work out? If God is the First Cause, isn’t he responsible for the fall of Adam and Eve into sin? If God knows E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, he must have known Adam and Eve were going to eat of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and, according to orthodox Christianity, plunge the entire human race into sin. Think of all the evil, violence, and suffering on display in this world of ours. Evangelicals trace all of these things back to our sinful nature. Surely, it is fair to say that God screwed up big time when creating Adam and Eve as he did. In other words, God made a colossal mistake.

Several thousand years later, humans had procreated themselves into a six-million or so species. Also roaming the earth were fallen angels. These angels were having sex with human women, resulting in the birth of angel-human hybrid children. Bizarre TV show from the SyFy channel? Nope, straight from the Bible, Genesis, chapter six:

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Note carefully what the Bible says: And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart…. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. This sure sounds like it is saying that God is admitting that he made a mistake in creating humans, and that the only way to fix his mistake was to kill everyone (save Noah and his family, eight in number) and start over.

The most humorous part of this story is that after God flushed the earth and started over, the first thing that Noah and his sons did was commit some sort of sexual sin (Genesis 9:19-24). Poor God, he can’t seem to get it right. He should have killed Noah’s family too.

Evangelicals are fond of saying, PRAYER CHANGES THINGS! Implied in this statement is that through prayer God can be moved to act on their behalf. Need something from God? PRAY! Need a job, home, money, car, a wife? PRAY! Need deliverance from alcohol, heroin, or porn? PRAY! Pray long and hard enough, the thinking goes, and God will come through for you, giving you that which you ask for. God, then, is some sort of divine vending machine. Keep putting quarters in the slot and pulling the handle, and God will sooner or later drop a package of Peanut M&Ms from Heaven.

If prayer can indeed change things, wouldn’t this mean that God changing his mind about a matter is him admitting that his first plan of action/inaction was wrong? If God is perfect, the same yesterday, today, and forever, doesn’t the very act of answering prayers say that God is NOT any these things?

If God is all that Evangelicals say he is, shouldn’t we expect God to get it right each and every time? What does it say about a supposedly all-knowing, all-powerful God that he is neither? What it should say to anyone who is paying attention is that this God is a figment of human imagination. People desperately want to believe that there is some sort of higher power controlling the universe. They also want to believe that their life matters to God and has meaning and purpose. Life isn’t worth living, Christians say, if these things are not true.

Of course, the mere existence of atheists, agnostics, pagans, humanists, and countless other non-Christians, suggests otherwise. Earthly, godless life can be and is filled with wonder, meaning, and purpose. Evangelicals may not be able to wrap their minds around this fact, but that doesn’t mean it is not true. Millions and millions of people live in the present, acknowledging that death lurks around the next corner. Today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now, death — the great equalizer — will claim us all. The difference, of course, is that unbelievers know that to some degree they can control when and even how they die. Yes, genetics, environment, and luck play a big part, but we are NOT passive players in the drama called life.

Every day, all of us make decisions based on the evidence at hand and probabilities. Living on Earth is both wonderful and dangerous. Having lived for almost 60 years, I can say that I am lucky to be alive. Forty-five years ago, 15-year-old Bruce was walking home from the YMCA one evening with his friends when a stopped train blocked his path home. After 10 or so minutes, the daredevil boy with flaming orange hair decided he had enough and started to climb underneath the train. My friends laughed and cheered me on, but none of them was willing to following me across the tracks to the other side. Perhaps their reason for not doing so was the train lurching forward as I made it halfway to the other side. My friends’ laughs and cheers turned into screams, fearing that the train was going to crush me or cut off my legs. Fortunately, I safely made it to the other side. (And astoundingly, I waited until the tracks were clear so my friends could praise me for my bravado, forgetting that my reason for doing this was to save time.)

The story of Fredzania Thompson’s tragic death and my story of keeping my legs for another day have much in common. Both of us foolishly thought that it was okay to play on train tracks. Both of us, filled with youthful life, had no thoughts of death. Thompson just wanted a picture, and I just wanted to get home. Thompson’s roll of the dice resulted in her death, mine became a story to tell forty-five years later. The difference between the two stories? Luck. I could just as easily have been killed or turned into a legless example of youthful stupidly.

At the time, I thanked God for saving me from the train, but now I know that I was one lucky boy. Had my life ended that night, none of what I have experienced since them would have happened. Surviving many such experiences has taught me the importance of carefully considering possible outcomes. Not that I still don’t make stupid decisions. I do, and perhaps one day I will die, the result of one stupid decision too many. (Please see Death by Duck: The Photograph that Almost Killed Me.)

I certainly empathize with Thompson’s family. Her death came way too soon, long before it should have. She should have had a full life ahead of her, including a modeling career and perhaps a husband and family. So much potential, snuffed out in an instant because of a thoughtless choice to have her photograph taken on busy railroad tracks. God is not to blame (or credit), because he doesn’t exist. The blame squarely rests on Thompson, and to some degree, the photographer — who should have assessed the risk involved in taking the photograph. All of us know that train tracks are dangerous, yet every year hundreds of Americans are killed by trains. We KNOW, yet we allow the thrill of the moment or lateness to override our thinking, resulting in death and serious injury. One thing is for certain, future Thompsons will be warned about the danger that railroad tracks present to them. This is how we survive as a species. Not by attributing everything to God, but by learning from our ignorant, foolish, ill-advised decisions. Much of life and death rests with us. If we want to live long, fulfilling lives, we must learn to assess danger, weigh probabilities, and act accordingly. We still might end up dead, but it won’t be because we threw caution to the wind and put ourselves in harm’s way.