Whenever a natural disaster happens there is always questioning of where is God. Some immediately say without a pause that the disaster was an act of God’s wrath against sinners and perhaps dance in happiness over it (as a recent viral youtube video showed). Others scream there is no God and proceed to insult this supposedly non-existent God as sadistic, horrible, mean, wicked, etc. Both of these responses are rather wrong-headed, but the real answer remains difficult to comprehend. When things like this happen, I myself am grieved and beseech God quite a bit about it, knowing that God is love and even “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33.11). It helps to know God is grieved too, even if it were an “act of God” for judgment.
If reading this CNN article and looking at the pictures of the wreckage, death, and suffering doesn’t break your heart, you don’t know the heart of God. It gave a good summary of the events – but the pictures! I looked at them all and was very grieved.
The best short article I found on the issue is from Gotquestions.org “Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters, i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis?” By all means read it.
But I will say this: in the uncertainty of events like these, there are some things we do know, and can take hope in – God is good. We have been given more than enough proof of that. As Jesus points out, God allows the sun for the evil and good, the rain for the just and the unjust (Matthew 5.45). People are given so many good things in life, and even the very poor; but credit is not given to God far too often. Still, God is “kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6.35). We know from Scripture that some natural events are specifically sent by God (the storm over Jonah’s boat comes to mind), but it’s also arguable that the disastrous weather patterns we have today are because of the advent of evil in the world and are allowed by God in this temporary age of fallenness until He returns to redeem all things.
But there is one thing that makes any condemnation of God most obviously bankrupt – the fact that God Himself visited earth in human form and suffered along with us. He experienced all the pain humanity experiences, in order to save them by dying on a cross. Yet people still reject Him! I think God has much more of a right to question our love than we do to question His. What’s more, many good things can come out of natural disasters – in Haiti many people believed on Christ and are thus eternally saved because of this temporary earthquake. I hope Japan will see the same.
We don’t know all the answers, but we do know that God does. And God guarantees this fallen world will be redeemed someday, and evil banished. All we can do is trust Him.
I have been looking at the pictures coming from Haiti after the earthquake.
The look of pain on the people’s faces is really heart-rending. I saw one of a father carrying his dead child with tears running down his face in total agony. Feeling for them just kind of goes right through you. I know of many people helping them on the ground, nations giving aide, and ministries doing work there, which I am thankful for. But that doesn’t bring a father’s crushed daughter back. Christians need to pray for God’s comfort for them, and I know Christian helpers there will do all they can to help the grieving.