Today I was saddened to see a video by the popular and well loved Angus Buchan regarding the water crisis in Cape Town. In the clip he says that God is not happy with Cape Town and that the rain will only come once the people repent of their wickedness. This is nothing new, people have being blaming God or a god for floods and other natural disasters for as long as humanity has had to endure them. Natural disasters are and have always been synonymous with judgement from above. But because Angus is such a popular figure in our land I thought that I would speak up on this one, here are a few points that I feel are worth considering.
1 - "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." - Jesus - Matthew 5:45.
I'm always bewildered at how fast we are to dismiss Jesus' own words. How do we go from "the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked" to the "rain is withheld from the wicked" (and sorry for the righteous that are among them). Some people might gloss over Jesus' words in favour of the story of Noah's flood or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah but even there, the righteous were spared the flood waters and the Lord was willing to spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people within the city. Let's be honest, natural disasters affect Christians in the same way those around them are affected. If they were indeed 'acts of God', why does He not spare the children in whom He is pleased?
2 - Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. - Matthew 8:24-26.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus rebuked the wind and waves when He and the disciples were caught in a storm at sea? Who was behind the storm? Was God trying to kill Jesus and His disciples? Of course not! It may have been Satan behind the violent weather as was the case in Job 1:19 or perhaps it was just nature being nature... Today we know that humans play a major role in the weather as well, we release gasses into the atmosphere, we build dams and divert rivers, we drill holes into the earths crust and then there is deforestation. Those are just four things that can affect our weather. It's too easy to blame God and say that it's His fault, we need to recognize though that there are destructive agents working against His will in the world as well.
3 - Supply and Demand
Apart from the obvious (that there has been less rain), it should be noted that Cape Town's population has being growing rather rapidly. In the past 23 years the population has increased by 79% whereas water storage has only increased by 15%. The Berg River Dam being the only significant addition to their water storage infrastructure. So a large contributing factor to the lack of water has to do with the fact that you have more people requiring more water and supply has not kept up with the demand.
To get back to my main point again though, let's be cautious against accusing God of seeking to kill, steal and destroy by means of natural disasters. I have nothing against Buchan, I think it's great that he is rallying people to stand together in prayer for Cape Town but I do take issue with the idea that God punishes the people in one city while other cities are seemingly blessed with good weather despite showing equally or worse morality than their neighbors. In my personal opinion, if you want to see God where nature causes havoc, look for the volunteers who bring the water, shelter and medical care to the victims in natural disasters and there you will find Him. stop looking in the fires, tsunamis or winds.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? - Romans 2:4