How the Kingdom Responds to Crisis
All catastrophic events cannot be broadly categorized as judgments from God. Let’s consider the storm that arose on the Sea of Galilee which threatened to send the disciples to their death. A bystander, who saw the storm arise, might have concluded that the disciples made God angry and were being judged for their sin. It’s human nature to assume that when bad things happen, God must be punishing us. When the Apostle Paul had a viper attach itself to his hand, the locals assumed he’d done something to make the gods angry, but when he shook the serpent into the fire and didn’t die from its bite, they developed a new theology; they concluded that Paul must have been a god himself. This is how many of us in the church view calamity and natural disaster, despite the fact that the New Testament—and the life of Jesus in particular— give us a completely different view of God.
The storm on the Sea of Galilee certainly had the potential to be a small natural disaster, but the Son of God stepped in and rebuked the storm and in doing so, demonstrated that natural disasters were not a form of judgment from God. Many times they are nothing more than an attempt by the enemy to destroy those to whom God wants to extend life. In rebuking the storm, Jesus demonstrated how the kingdom of God and its ambassadors ought to respond to crisis. Since the Son came not to judge the world but to save it, and it was the thief who came to steal, kill and destroy, the disciples of Jesus have a commission to oppose the work of Satan, to oppose his acts of destruction, and to demonstrate the superiority of the kingdom of God over the kingdoms of man and the kingdom of darkness.
The disciples learned how to respond to every type of crisis the way sons of God are supposed to respond. When an unexpected storm blew in, Jesus taught them to rebuke it. When a family member became ill, He taught them to heal the sick person. When there was not enough food to feed the multitude, He taught them to multiply what little they had. When taxes were due, He told them to find the money in the mouth of a fish. Day after day, through His sermons and actions, He taught them that the normal response to a problem was to release something from the kingdom of God that addressed it. The response to sickness was healing, the response to death was resurrection, the response to lack was multiplication, and the response to a storm was to calm it. This is what the normal Christian life is supposed to look like. And this is the way God would have us live—both in times of peace and in times of crisis.
This is an excerpt from my latest book A Kingdom View of Economic Collapse.