Thursday’s newspaper headline declared, “Three natural disasters rattle a hemisphere.” While a powerful typhoon was bearing down on Southeast Asia this week, two underwater earthquakes struck thousands of miles away. One quake spawned colossal waves that rushed toward the Samoas, leaving massive flooding in their wake. The other flattened buildings in Indonesia leaving more than 1,000 dead, thousands more missing, and countless families without a home.

As the death toll continues to rise in the wake of such tragedy, the public discussion generates some inevitable questions and responses. Even secular pundits weigh in when tragedy strikes on such a grand scale. “Could this be divine justice? Should we consider it a wakeup call?” Soon a religious leader will likely seize the public platform to make a definitive interpretation as if he serves as God’s sole spokesman.

During Elijah’s self-imposed exile (1 Kings 19) he witnessed some incredible events: a strong wind crumbled the mountains and crushed the great rocks. An earthquake and fire soon followed. “But the Lord was not in the fire” (vs. 12). Remember that God spoke to Elijah with that “still small voice.”

We often look for meaning in events such as those that struck this week (especially when they are closer to our own home). In frustration we lament, “If only we knew what God was trying to tell us.” While I would not discourage someone from examining life’s occurrences through the lens of providence, I believe we have a greater responsibility.

Certainly, God is powerful enough to shake the earth or control the winds and waves. Likewise, He is still active in the course of human history. However, should we be looking for a message in these natural events when we so often overlook the clear one on our own bookshelf? Bound between leather covers we possess the complete divine revelation – the very Word of God in our own language. What a blessing and privilege – one which we easily take for granted.

The will of God is not inscrutable on its pages. Otherwise, we could not be expected to do it, as the New Testament authors instruct us (Eph. 6:6). Certain aspects of the Lord’s will are clearly expressed in the Bible. His will is that sinful men will repent and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). He expects believers to obey the civil authorities and the laws of the land (1 Peter 2:15). He desires His children to be thankful (1 Thess. 5:18). His will is that Christians will maintain personal purity, living holy lives that are examples to the world (1 Thess. 4:3). If only we inspected the message of God’s written Word with the same diligence that some do the tempests and tremors.

Our responsibility? Handle the Word of God properly. Value it – evidenced by the time we spend with it. Respect it – manifested by the authority we give it. Honor it – demonstrated by our obedient response to it.

We will once again gather on Sunday and look into the sacred book that we hold in our hands. On its pages we find the message of God preserved for us. May we be faithful children of our heavenly Father, remembering the great worth of His Word that reveals His will for us.