This is an email I received from a friend, Mark Swiger. He had just ministered in Haiti a few months before the earthquake. I wanted to quote the email in full because I believe Mark truly heard from God as he ministered in a church that was at the epicenter of the earthquake that would soon happen. Here’s the email —
Attached are some pictures of me ministering in a church in Haiti the last Sunday morning of our September campaign. I had no idea that this church would soon be at the very epicenter of one of the most violent earthquakes in world history. It was totally destroyed. Reports are coming in that hundreds of it’s members are living in an open field. Many are injured. Some have died. Many have been miraculously spared. Some were dug out of the rubble with little or no injury after many days. All need food and water.
While I had no idea of the impending disaster God did. He tried to warn them. What message did God give me for them on that last Sunday? Here is my text:
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. LUKE 13:4-5
With all my heart I preached that accidents and natural disasters like towers falling on people were not judgments from God. Jesus said the men on whom the tower in Siloam fell were “not sinners above all men” that God was punishing. They were just subject to natural laws of gravity and faults in construction.
We are living in a fallen world. Sin has polluted the earth. Hell is enlarging itself and the “earthquakes in divers places” that Jesus foretold are happening. They are not the work of God but the results of natural laws and the sin of mankind.
But God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) I told the Haitian people that repentance means to stop walking our own way and start walking with God in obedience to Him. The eighteen men on whom the tower fell got up and went to work the same as any other day. Were they walking close enough to the Lord to hear his voice of warning? I can hear the Spirit of God screaming “Don’t’ go to the tower today! It is going to fall!”. Were the men walking in the flesh or the Spirit? Could they hear God? Would they obey Him?
I told the dear people in Haiti that day that unless we are walking closely to the Lord in repentance we “shall all likewise perish.” We too will be subject to the laws of nature and the disasters of this sinful world. But if we are in the place of repentance we can hear and obey the Lord. He is not willing that we perish. He will warn us. He can guide us and supernaturally protect us in the hour of disaster.
After the message I laid hands and prayed for hundreds who responded. Our day of disaster may also come. May we be walking close to Him in that hour.
To me, the message in Mark’s email is clear: we all need to do all we can to develop an ear to hear what God is saying. It may be a matter of life and death one day, if not for ourselves, then for our loved ones.
Let me invite you to visit the first seven days of a 31-day devotional, “Learn To Hear From God.” I’ll post the other entries as soon as I can. See http://www.squidoo.com/learn-to-hear-from-god for day 1, and links to the other days are at the bottom of each page.