There is nothing quite like a natural disaster for there to be talk of God.

To you, O LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.  Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures. Joel 1:19-20 (The Message)

Anyone who has seen the Billy Connoly film, ‘The Man who sued God’ will know the irony of the term ‘Act of God’ in the insurance world. Here we do have an act of God, Joel tells us in verse 15, ‘… the Strong God has arrived.’ This action, unlike the natural disaster in the film, is an act of God. God is judging the world through fire and there are a couple of options for our response. We can call on God as we see his judgement to have mercy; we can hide away, hoping not to be caught out in the open pasture; or we can shake our fist at the heavens in defiance of the Almighty. What is undeniable, however, is that the judgement of God, when it comes, will not come without reason and will come quickly.

The first response, to call on God to have mercy, is the one to adopt now. When judgement comes it will be too late but if we take the attitude for prayer that God is merciful and desires only good then we will continue to see his forbearance. The Bible says, in the book of Psalms, ‘As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.’ Psalm 42:1 (The NIV translation) Thirsting after God’s mercy and forgiveness now leads the way to mercy triumphing over judgement. Seeking God while he may be found is the way to quench our spirirtual thirst.

I seek you, Lord, as a thirsty deer, as a needy soul. As you judge this world let mercy triumph over judgement and let your righteousness flow like a never ending stream. Refresh us, Lord, that we may see streams of living water flowing in a thirsty land and your forebearance continue with blessing. Amen.