The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Syria and Turkey and subsequent aftershocks have claimed nearly 50,000 lives and wreaked vast devastation, including destroying over a quarter of a million apartments in Turkey (The Tribune, February 18, 2023). As time runs out for saving the lives of more people buried in the rubble, the death toll is expected to soar to even greater levels.
In New Zealand, the city of Auckland and surrounding areas received an entire month’s worth of rainfall in just one day, leading to catastrophic flooding (JBARisk.com, January-February 2023). Then, within a week, Cyclone Gabrielle hit the north island, causing widespread devastation and prompting New Zealand’s prime minister, Chris Hopkins, to declare a national emergency for only the third time in the history of the nation (Reuters, February 15, 2023). Last week, South Africa’s president also declared a national state of emergency in response to widespread flooding in seven of the nation’s nine provinces (Reuters, February 14, 2023). The flooding has resulted in the loss of critical infrastructure, and this on the heels of ongoing power shortages across the nation. In northeast Kenya, several years of severe drought have ravaged crops, killed livestock, and created food shortages for millions of people in the region.
As we look around the globe, we see ever-increasing natural disasters, just as the Bible predicts will happen. With these disasters comes tremendous human suffering. As the Apostle Paul noted, the whole creation “groans” in agony as it awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the revealing of His saints (Romans 8:19–23). When Christ finally returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth, the extreme and destructive natural disasters we see today will become a thing of the past, as obedient nations experience the blessings that come from obeying their Creator who controls the weather (cf. Leviticus 26:4; Deuteronomy 28:12). As we see extreme weather, floods, droughts, famines, and other catastrophes, we can be assured there really is hope ahead. To learn more about this coming time of worldwide peace and safety, be sure to read or listen to our encouraging booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?