I am posting early again as I have no power at home.
I've actually been thinking on this topic or at least the general idea for some time. Here is another area that Christians may think they're being positive yet I think it's actually counter productive. I am using the recent storm, hurricane Matthew for an example. This storm came very close to my home, the initial path projections had it coming nearly straight for us but it veered course and stayed farther off shore. There are several groups that are giving thanks and claiming it is from their prayers that God moved the storm. Should this be the case then the question must be asked, why would the prayers of some people be answered and not of others? When Christians sing praises to God for moving a storm, how many pagans hear this and ask the same questions? Is God a respecter of persons? Scripture says no. This storm devastated homes in Haiti and the Bahamas. Were there no Christians there to pray? I find no-place in the scriptures where God uses natural disasters to chasten or discipline anyone. As far as weather, I see drought and not storms as discipline. So should we pray? Certainly, men are always to pray but there are other lessons to learn that we seem to neglect. I take the entire word of God, from Genesis to Revelation to be inerrant. The scripture plainly teaches that when man fell the entire world was damaged. Part of that damage is what causes natural disasters, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes. These things happen because of what man did, not because God is bringing a judgment. I also look at life in a very pragmatic way, I doubt you will ever find anyone more practical than I am. In that respect I look at the history of these storms, where they start and typically where they go and I wonder why do we build in this path? I'm reminded of the parable Jesus taught about building on sand or solid ground. Hurricanes come through Haiti, the Bahamas, Cuba and parts of Florida every year. If it's unwise to build on sand why is it not unwise to build in the direct path of a storm? So do we give thanks for surviving the storm, I say no not exactly. I am thankful to still be here and have minimal damage but we should give thanks to God simply because He is God. I think it dangerous when we give praise for a specific item, if I thank God for healing and someone has the same condition who is not healed does that help or hurt? When our thanks, prayers, and praise depend on what God has done for us individually then it becomes a performance based relationship. So here is the bottom line to all of this. Does God send disasters? I don't think so. Does God move in people's lives when they pray? Yes but there is no specific formula. So use care when we give praise, praise Him because He created everything. Praise Him because He made a way in which you and I can come to Him. Praise Him because this life is short but we have a promise of eternity.