Can We Rebuke Hurricanes and Floods?

One final question about natural disasters: Is it not true that if we have enough faith, we can rebuke and stop natural disasters from occurring?

To have faith means to believe God’s revealed will. Faith, therefore, must be founded on God’s own word or it is not faith at all, but rather hope or presumption. There is no place in the Bible where God gives us the promise that we can rebuke and calm hurricanes, and so there is no way a person could have faith to do so (apart from God sovereignly granting him faith).

Let me explain further. The only way a person could have faith to rebuke a hurricane is if he was certain God did not want that hurricane to strike a certain geographical area. As we have learned from Scripture, God is the one who controls the wind and is thus responsible for hurricanes. Therefore, it would be impossible for someone to have confident faith that he could stop a hurricane when God Himself has decreed its occurrence! The only exception to this would be if God changed His mind about the hurricane, which He might do in response to someone’s prayer that He show mercy, or in response to the repentance of the people whom He was about to judge (the story of Nineveh in Jonah’s day comes to mind as an example). Yet even if God changed His mind, still no one could have faith to rebuke and calm a hurricane unless that person knew God had changed His mind and also knew that God wanted him to rebuke and calm the storm.

The only person who ever rebuked and calmed a great wind was Jesus. The only way any of us could do it would be if God gave us the “gift of faith,” (or the gift of “special faith” as it is sometimes called), one of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. As with all the gifts of the Spirit, the gift of faith operates not as we might will, but only as the Spirit wills (see 1 Cor. 12:11). Therefore, unless God gives you special faith to rebuke an oncoming hurricane, you should not remain in its path, supposedly acting in faith. You should get out of the way! I would also suggest that you pray for God’s protection, and ask Him to have mercy upon the people He was judging, asking Him to spare their lives that they might have more time to repent.

Notice that when Paul was bound for Rome on a boat that was driven for two weeks by gale-force winds, he did not calm it by a rebuke (see Acts 27:14-44). The reason he didn’t is because he couldn’t. Also notice that God did have mercy upon every person on board, as all 276 of them survived the resulting shipwreck (see Acts 27:24, 34, 44). I would like to think that God had mercy upon them because Paul prayed for God to have mercy on them.