Saturday, March 9, 2013

The World's Deadliest Killer Sinkhole

By now you've heard about the terrible story that's been on the news. Near Tampa, Florida, a sinkhole swallowed a man, Jeff Bush, 36, while he was sleeping in his own bedroom!

According to CNN, the family's nightmare began Thursday night, just as everyone was about to go to sleep. A deafening noise shattered the peace in the house in the Tampa suburb of Seffner. Jeremy Bush heard his brother scream and ran toward Jeff's bedroom. "Everything was gone. My brother's bed, my brother's dresser, my brother's TV. My brother was gone," Jeremy Bush said.

Jeremy Bush jumped into the hole and frantically shoveled away rubble. But as the house's floor further collapsed, a sheriff's deputy pulled him to safety and his brother remained trapped below. "I couldn't get him out," Jeremy Bush said, weeping. "I tried so hard. I tried everything I could.'"

It turns out they never did find the man's body. They tried looking for him, but it was unsafe to continue because the hole was unstable, and getting deeper and deeper. First they said it was thirty feet deep, then sixty feet deep, and who know's how deep it is now! Obviously, Jeff Bush is presumed dead and his body could not be recovered.

I've heard of sinkholes before, but I hadn't remembered one that swallowed a man, that is, until I recalled the famous one that occurred in ancient times,  back around 1400 or 1500 BC. This is when the nation of Israel, led by Moses, was freed from the slavery of Egypt, and spent years in the desert before finally reaching the land of Canaan where they settled.

While they were still in the desert, three men named Korah, Dathan and Abiram, incited a rebellion against Moses and Aaron (Moses' brother). Korah was from the tribe of Levi, and  claimed that he had just as much right to serve as a priest and lead the people. Wrong!!!

The situation escalated as Dathan and Abiram, from the tribe of Reuben, outright defied the commands of Moses, God's appointed leaders. This insurrection not only made Moses angry, it made God angry as well. God told Moses to tell the people to get back from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, because they were going to be punished.

Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the entrances of their tents, together with their wives and children and little ones. Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.”

"He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned. So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel." (Numbers 16:31-33)

So that's the true story of the world's deadliest killer sinkhole. When comparing it to the sinkhole in Florida, the main thing they have in common is that they were both killer sinkholes. We cannot say that the man's death in Florida was because of God's punishment for something He did, or because God was mad at him. As for me, I take the side of compassion and feel sorry for the family, and do not have the opinion that this sinkhole happened because God caused it to happen. I think the sinkhole, unlike the one in Moses' day, happened by chance. 

But so many say that "everything happens for a reason". However, is this really true, or is this just a way to comfort ourselves when bad times occur? Does everything happen for a reason? I believe that some things COULD happen for a reason, but some things could also happen as a result of our own free-will decisions or actions. In other words, if we made a decision based on poor or foolish judgment, bad things are going to happen as a consequence. Or, bad things can happen just by coincidence or random chance.

Although bad things could happen because of God's discipline upon us, bad things could also happen simply because we live in a world that has been tainted and corrupted by sin. Disease, death, and evil entered this world at the fall of man, and continues to this day.

Here's the bottom line:  God either makes things happen, or allows things to happen.

In either case, this shows His sovereignty. In other words, God has the ability and the power to choose whether to intervene or not. If He wants to alter events or if He wants to let events play out, it's His decision. That's why when our time is up, it's up, or God would choose to intervene and prevent our death. What's comforting to know is that regardless of His decision to make things happen or allow things to happen, He is aware of what is happening at all times, and therefore is sovereign, is in control, and His providence prevails.

So, God either makes things happen, or allows things to happen. The perplexing question is this.....why would God allow bad things to happen, if He could intervene at any time to stop it? We know why bad things happened to Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and all their followers. However, for the man in Florida, why did God allow this to happen?

Assuming it's not His discipline or punishment, perhaps He allows bad things to happen, including this death in Florida, because He knows something good is going to come out of it somewhere down the road. Or perhaps He allows bad things to happen because He knows it will ultimately make us stronger as individuals. Or perhaps He allows bad things to happen because the consequences of Adam and Eve's sin, and Satan's influence on the world, must be played out! Yes, the fall man has great consequences.

This world will never attain paradise status on its own, where there is no more pain, no more sickness, and no more death. God will not make every single bad situation good and thus turn this world into a perfect world. He will not stop every bad thing from happening. Sin has its consequences. There is only one way to be rescued from sin and from this sinful world. There's only one way to live in this world, to defeat Satan, defeat death itself, and to overcome this world. That way is through the cross of Christ. 

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