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Meaning in Life after Disaster

By Dianne D. McDonnell

The beautiful thing about a new calendar year is the chance to start over. So with a new year just started-just what would you like to change about your life? Most people, deep inside their innermost selves, long for meaning in their lives. Each person seeks some lasting sense of purpose– a reason for being alive-and at the end of it all, some understanding of what one's individual life meant.

The Asian disaster of a horrific tsunami rising out of a tranquil blue sea has imprinted each of us with a visual reminder of how life can end before we want it to. So with the calendar year so new and the lesson of the preciousness of living still fresh, how do we achieve some monumental meaning in our lives? How do we wrap ourselves around a mighty tree of purpose and hang on for dear life? How do we grab on to something that will keep us afloat no matter what washes over our lives?

For me that solid something that holds me steady is Jesus Christ. You see, he predicted the events we see unfolding. In Luke 21:5-11 Jesus told of total destruction of the temple at Jerusalem without even two stones being atop another. Note that this hasn't happened yet for we still see the "wailing wall" which was part of the temple Jesus spoke about. Next he warned of widespread religious deception, nations locked in warfare, "great earthquakes", famines and pestilences in various places, and "fearful events and great signs from heaven." But the prediction most on target with recent news comes in verse 25 of Luke 21, "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth, dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves". Looking at your own Bible you will see we are warned of "great earthquakes" in Luke 21:11, just fourteen verses before the verse I have quoted. So we can rightly understand the reference to "waves" to be what we call a tsunami. Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning "a great sea wave" which can come following a great earthquake on the ocean floor. Today many nations are dismayed and perplexed in dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the great tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. As of this writing, the cost in human lives is figured at 175,000 and still rising. The headlines of our newspapers tell us of the other costs that are indeed causing anguish, emotional suffering and "perplexity" which means feeling overwhelmed.

Matthew 24:1-8 reveals further details. When Jesus' disciples asked, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of this age?" Notice that the disciples understood that Jesus was to come to the earth in power and conclude the present "age". The reference does not indicate the end of the existence of the world, just the conclusion of this present way of doing thing. First Jesus listed widespread religious deception, next wars, famines, and "earthquakes in diverse places" or earthquakes jarring and ripping different far-flung spots on the globe. Certainly there is tremendous religious confusion today with a plethora of beliefs and variance of teachings-most of which are directly in conflict with the teachings of Jesus. Increasingly we see such great earthquakes, and now the sea being involved as well. There is a lot more that is predicted to happen, but clearly we are in the beginning of some pretty monumental events. How do we stay strong enough and wise enough to separate true teachings from false teachings, deal with terrifying natural disasters, and still stay sane?

First of all, let me reveal some basic points of hope for each of us from the teachings of Jesus and from all throughout the Bible.

  1. The Messiah is predicted to come to this earth and to be a World Ruler on the earth, and Jerusalem is to be His world headquarters. The Messiah, or "Christ" as we usually translate the word, is predicted to be an actual world ruler and will be worshipped by all people in all nations. That is why the Roman leader Herod wanted to destroy Jesus before he grew up. Herod was afraid of being deposed as a leader. When Jesus died and was resurrected it still was not yet God's time for this Government on earth to begin-but the time is coming when every prophecy will finally come to pass in exact detail. See: Isaiah 27:13; Isaiah 4:3; Micah 4:1-7; Zechariah 8:3 and 22; Zechariah 14:8-9 and 17;

  2. This "coming" will save the world from destruction and will usher in a new era on the earth, an age of Peace and Safety superior to anything the world has ever known! See: Matthew 24:21-22; Psalms 68:20, 28-29; Psalms 102:21-22; Psalms 135:14, 20-21, Psalms 147:12-15.

    1. At this "coming" those who are "in Christ" will be given new immortal bodies, both those living at that time, and those who have died. The dead "in Christ" will awake from death and reign on the earth with Christ, the resurrected and living Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, Revelation 20:4-6.
    2. Once the opposition to Jesus is subdued, there will be a renewal of the earth physically, spiritually and in every way, creating a joyful time of love and tranquility and deep happiness and contentment. Yet there will be real work to do, and real people to teach, train and love. Psalms 35.
    3. You can be a part of this very real coming Kingdom and Government, planned in Heaven and finally to be executed upon this earth! Ezekiel 18:27-32; John 5:24-29; John 6:40- 47; Hebrews 8:10-12; Romans 6:23; Luke 15:10.

For many people these statements are diametrically opposed to what they have been taught about Jesus and His plan for mankind. Why not print this out and check for yourself the Bible references that back up the points in this article. If you don't have a Bible you can go to web sites such,, to print them out. (My own personal favorite Bible translation is the New American Standard Update, as I feel it is the most accurate.) Study each scripture. Pray about them. Turn to God, "casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you" 1 Peter 5:6-7. Step by step you will see-no matter where you live on this great globe-- just how you can be a part of this great coming era, and have meaning, purpose, peaceful stability, hope, and joy in your life as never before!


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