United Church of God

Devastating Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria

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Devastating Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria

Through the miracle of modern technology and television, we all witnessed the devastating earthquake that struck the nation of Turkey and Syria a few days ago. The latest death tolls are over 19,300 as they continue to search through the rubble for survivors and bodies.

The pictures of mothers and fathers in grief over the loss of their children, the despair and shock evident in the faces of those still alive, and the vivid images of buildings just crumbling before our eyes, plus the scenes of mass destruction everywhere, tear at our hearts.

While we have no members in this area of the world, it is right and good that we pray and mourn for those suffering. They don’t know the truth of God, but one day they will. Pray for the day when Christ returns to earth and God removes the “veil” that covers the world (Isaiah 25:7).

“In that day,” God says, Christ will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the knowledge of God will “cover the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14) and there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more tears (Revelation 21:4).

As we empathize and sorrow with those who are suffering, we are also heartened by the “human spirit” that is displayed at times like this—times of extreme distress. We see people working together, helping each other, consoling each other. When someone is found alive, everyone rejoices; when another body is found, they share in the heartache and grief.

Nations from all over the world have pledged to send aid and to work together to provide needed supplies, funds and support to help the people in this stricken area through this unexpected tragedy.

If only that spirit of humanity that binds mankind together in times of tragedy could be evident all the time, how wonderful the world would be. No more war, no more strife, no more hate, but just everyone working together in harmony, bearing with each other and supporting each other.

That’s the way of God—bearing with each other, living in accord, watching out for each other—that’s the hope you and I have, and that the world needs to know. We see the heavy toll on humans and infrastructure when a major earthquake strikes, and we know the time is coming when there will be more earthquakes even more devastating than this one.

In the Olivet Prophecy, Christ said that in the time before His return to earth there would be “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). Those will pale in comparison to the earthquake mentioned in Revelation 16:18-19: “And there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.”

We’ve just seen a city “fall” in the images and videos that were transmitted around the world this week. We’ve seen the power of this earthquake and we realize again how we are completely dependent on God to see us through whatever comes our way.

Mourn for those who are suffering, but also pray earnestly for His Kingdom to come when all men will come to know God, love Him and live by His way. Pray for the time when sorrow and tears will be past.

And as we have all been spectators to this display of power, let’s purpose to keep the right fear of God before our eyes. That fear will keep you from sin (Exodus 20:20) and keep you in perfect peace through the difficult times of life.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, that God will bring us all into the unity of the Spirit and the brotherly love that binds us together at one with Him.