In the last days, “great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; . . . . upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:11, 25).
Need we even mention the hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, famines and pestilences in this decade? Catastrophes are costing many lives. Tens of thousands of deaths typically occur before a food shortage is even reported by major news sources, over 3,000 from cold, 2,000 from drought, etc. Yet our Father’s heart of infinite love feels it all.
“It is very natural for human beings to think that great calamities are a sure index of great crimes and enormous sins; but men often make a mistake in thus measuring character. We are not living in the time of retributive judgment. Good and evil are mingled, and calamities come upon all. Sometimes men do pass the boundary line beyond God’s protecting care, and then Satan exercises his power upon them, and God does not interpose. Job was sorely afflicted, and his friends sought to make him acknowledge that his suffering was the result of sin, and cause him to feel under condemnation. They represented his case as that of a great sinner; but the Lord rebuked them for their judgment of His faithful servant.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1140.
Then what about the souls that suffer under all these calamities? Indeed, the innocent often suffer with the guilty. Houses are destroyed, crops ruined, lives affected. What is our duty?
“To leave a suffering neighbor unrelieved is a breach of the law of God. . . . We are to care for every case of suffering, and to look upon ourselves as God’s agents to relieve the needy to the very uttermost of our ability. . . . We are to do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 52.
“[God] will surely judge those who neglect his purchased possession, who leave the suffering to perish when it is in their power to relieve them.”—The Review and Herald, December 10, 1895.
Please, let us all do our utmost when the First Sabbath Offering is gathered for World Disaster Relief, knowing that in ministering God’s suffering ones, we are ministering unto Him.
The General Conference Welfare Department