The stories coming out of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan have been heart-breaking and disturbing. While the number of deaths is unknown as I write this, the Red Cross has ordered 10,000 body bags in preparation for removing the bodies of those who were killed in this tragedy. Some have wondered if 10,000 body bags will meet the needs they will encounter. There are a lot of ways we should respond to this horrific tragedy. First, we should pray for those who have been so horribly affected. There are mothers and fathers weeping over their deceased children. There are families who survived the storm only to face the possibility of starvation. We can also give financially to help those who are suffering at this time. There are numerous agencies doing good work in the Philippines, but I would encourage you to use wisdom as you choose an organization through whom you can give to assist in the relief effort. I suggest you use one that has a good track record of careful stewardship of funds in the past. The Southern Baptist Convention offers a good means of support, as I am sure there are numerous other organizations, such as Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision. I like donating through the Southern Baptist Convention because 100% of the donation goes to the cause. All overhead is paid through other means.
I want to mention another response that we should have as we prayerfully consider the suffering of the people of the Philippines. Jesus made reference to the coming natural disasters as His return draws ever closer. Matthew 24:7-8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” I suppose one could say I am outside the bounds of scripture when I connect typhoons to earthquakes, but I don’t think I’m too far out. While I acknowledge the specific prophecy is about earthquakes, I do believe the global climate of upheaval that will usher in the return of Christ will be stimulated by natural disasters of all kinds. Remember that global instability will be essential for the rise of the Antichrist and for the formation of a global government and currency. Disasters are fuel for the fire that will lead to global unification. It is my belief that as Christ’s return draws ever closer, natural disasters will continue to increase. Let’s pray for the people affected by this horrible disaster, but let’s also pray that God will give us eyes to see the signs of our times and ears to hear His call to faithfulness and fruitfulness in these last days.