What About God and Disasters?

The Tsunami in Southeast Asia shook the world physically and emotionally. The death toll, at present, has exceeded 200,000. Australian researchers say, “We can still see a steady signal of the earth vibrating as a result of that earthquake two weeks later. From what it looks like, it appears it will probably continue to oscillate for several more weeks.”/1
Generations will pass before the remains of this disaster fade into history. Worldwide, questions are being asked about the nature of a God who would allow such horrors.
Before answers are provided, we must acknowledge that people are confused and angry at God over this disaster.
Heather MacDonald sums up these feelings when she writes, “Centuries of uncritical worship have clearly produced a monster. God knows that he can sit passively by while human life is wantonly mowed down, and the next day, churches, synagogues, and mosques will be filled with believers thanking him for allowing the survivors to survive. The faithful will ask him to heal the wounded, while ignoring his failure to prevent the disaster in the first place.”/2
Writers such as MacDonald never take the time to understand God. Instead, they seek to reduce him to human size. Cal Thomas wisely writes, “Rather than attempt to bring mankind up to God’s level, many skeptics try to bring God down to man’s level, remaking Him in a human image and thus encouraging the false view that God is someone who is supposed to make us happy and prosperous.”/3
Man exists for God, not God for man. He is the Creator; we are the Creation. Paul rhetorically asks, “does the potter have power over the clay?” (Romans 9:21, NKJV). When Job loses everything he has, he demands an explanation from God concerning his suffering. In Job 38-41, God speaks and demonstrates his power and majesty as creator and sovereign king of the universe.
Answers do not come easily when obscured by pain. Our human eyes see from a different perspective than an omnipotent God. We look around in a narrow sense and God looks down on the world as a whole. He understands everything on a scale we cannot.
His wisdom is everlasting and is “not willing that any should perish” spiritually “but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He created a beautiful world and has showered us with all spiritual and physical blessings. Only a good God would do such things (Psalm 33:5). If he were evil, we would no longer be alive anyway.
In Luke 13, some came before Jesus to ask about the “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices” (Luke 13:1, NKJV). Jesus said, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2,3).
Disasters have always been with us and will continue until the world ends. No amount of care, concern or legislation can erase that fact. We can only ensure that our souls are prepared for them (Hebrews 9:27).
Life is a tenuous thread that we must treat with care (James 4:13,14). While disasters turn people into critics of God, it should instead turn them into pursuers of God.
This world is our temporary abode, and we must be preparing for the next life where there will be no pain, suffering, or death (Revelation 21:1-7). Ultimately, heaven is the answer. This world is painful and filled with hardships and grief. Only by entering heaven for all eternity will we find the peace we all desire and an end to pain, suffering, and death.
/ 1. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0%2C2106%2C3151151a12%2C00.html
/ 2. http://slate.msn.com/id/2112083/
/ 3. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/calthomas/ct20050104.shtml

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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