Extreme Weather—Can the Bible Help You to Cope?
Are you one of the millions who have been affected by extreme weather? Dangerous weather and its damaging effects come in many forms. Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, and tornadoes often cause storm surges, flooding, or wind damage. Heavy rain may trigger landslides, and storms can bring lightning strikes that start destructive wildfires. Droughts, heat waves, and winter storms can be equally devastating.
In many areas of the world, catastrophic weather is becoming increasingly frequent and intense. “The number of people affected by disasters also continues to rise,” reports the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “as more and more floods, storms and droughts in particular wreak havoc on lives and livelihoods, displacing millions of people each year.”
In the wake of such events, people suffer not only physically but also emotionally. They may face the trauma of having lost their possessions, their home, or even a loved one in death.
If you have suffered the effects of extreme weather, the Bible can help you to cope. It provides comfort, hope, and practical advice, which have helped countless victims of weather-related disasters. (Romans 15:4) It also answers an important question that plagues many: Why did God allow this to happen—is he punishing me?
Today’s extreme weather is not punishment from God
The Bible teaches that God is not responsible for the suffering that people experience. It assures us that “with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.” (James 1:13) This means that he is not behind the extreme weather people are experiencing today.
The Bible does record occasions when God used natural forces to punish wicked people. But those events were unlike destructive weather today, which comes without warning and strikes the good as well as the bad. In contrast, the Bible accounts show that God always protected the innocent, gave advance warning, and explained the reasons for his actions. For example, God explained why he was bringing the global Flood in Noah’s day, provided advance warning before he did so, and protected Noah and his family.—Genesis 6:13; 2 Peter 2:5.
To learn more about how we know that today’s natural disasters are not punishment from God, see the article “What Does the Bible Say About Natural Disasters?”
God cares about victims of extreme weather
The Bible reveals that Jehovaha God is caring and empathetic. Consider the following comforting verses.
Isaiah 63:9: “During all their distress it was distressing to [God].”
Meaning: Jehovah is deeply affected by the distress of those who suffer.
1 Peter 5:7: “He cares for you.”
Meaning: Jehovah is concerned about your welfare.
Jehovah’s care and empathy move him to act. He provides comfort through practical advice in the Bible and the reliable hope it contains for a future without weather-related disasters.—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.
When extreme weather will no longer be a problem
The Bible reveals Jehovah’s promise “to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) He intends for people to enjoy life on a paradise earth, not to live in fear of its weather.—Genesis 1:28; 2:15; Isaiah 32:18.
God will bring about that future by means of his Kingdom, a heavenly government headed by Jesus. (Matthew 6:10) Jesus has both the wisdom and the power needed to prevent weather disasters. When Jesus was on earth, he demonstrated his power to control the weather. (Mark 4:37-41) He will rule with understanding and wisdom, teaching humans how to care for the environment and live in harmony with nature. (Isaiah 11:2) Under Jesus’ leadership, people will never again be harmed by extreme weather.
You may wonder, ‘When will Jesus use his power to control the weather?’ To answer that question, see the article “When Will God’s Kingdom Rule the Earth?”
Dealing with extreme weather now
The Bible’s advice can help you before, during, and after extreme weather.
Before: Prepare to act promptly.
What the Bible says: “The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself, but the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.”—Proverbs 22:3.
Meaning: Anticipate potential dangers so that you can act quickly and protect your family.
Experience: “On the day we escaped the wildfire, we were prepared. We had our emergency go bags. We had our medications. We had our clothes. People were panicking all around us, not able to think clearly. But we had everything we needed, and for that I am so grateful!”—Tamara, California, U.S.A.
During: Focus on what matters most.
What the Bible says: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15.
Meaning: Life is more important than possessions.
Experience: “When Typhoon Lawinb destroyed our home, I could not think clearly about what I should do. But one thing I did was I prayed sincerely to Jehovah God. I realized that it was just material things that we lost and not our lives.”—Leslie, Philippines.
After: Take one day at a time.
What the Bible says: “Never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties.”—Matthew 6:34.
Meaning: Do not be overly worried about future problems.
Experience: “After Hurricane Irma left my home flooded, there were more decisions to make than ever and I was stressed to the max. I tried to follow the Bible’s advice to take one day at a time. I found that with Jehovah’s help, I can cope with much more than I ever imagined.”—Sally, Florida, U.S.A.
For more practical tips, see the article “When Disaster Strikes—Steps That Can Save Lives.”
a Jehovah is God’s personal name.—Psalm 83:18.
b Also known as Typhoon Haima.