“For we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are the called according to his choosing” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).
We are back in Nepal, in the area near the epicenter of the massive earthquake of April, 2015. I have just spent parts of two days in a district city where families from hard hit villages higher in the mountains have come for refuge.
Now, one and a half year after the disastrous quake, many of these families are still living in temporary tin shelters in a relief colony. Their homes were destroyed. Though some help has been provided it is not sufficient to permit them to rebuild. In many cases rebuilding on their family property (in the quake destroyed villages) is simply not possible.
Some have sent sons or husbands abroad to work for 2 to 4 years and earn a start on a new life for the family. Others have been able to buy small pieces of land and are saving towards construction of some kind of residence.
A year ago when I visited with many of these same people there was still shock and disbelief in their eyes. They were stunned, unsure of what to do. They were suffering loss of property, family tradition, and in many cases loved ones.
This time I see much more joy, acceptance, determination, and other positive responses. We were greeted with gratitude and pleasure. People were anxious to hear Bible teaching. Many families that we visited are Christians and they have come here to the city with intentions to stay and to establish a strong and faithful church where none had previously existed.
I do not believe that it is correct to say that God causes most of the tragedies and disasters that afflict this world. Yes, he permits them, because he permitted his creation to become flawed by sin. But he did not necessarily “send” the earthquake to Nepal. (I do not however rule out the possibility that he may occasionally directly determine that some sad event happen for his own purpose – I just do not believe the Bible teaches that all disasters are caused by him in this way).
Though he may not have caused the earthquake, I definitely believe that he is using it to accomplish his purpose. Much suffering has been experienced by these people. But that is not the end of the story. No matter how much they have lost, and how badly they have been hurt, life can still be good for them. Good things can come out of even a great earthquake.
That is what we are seeing. People are smiling. Thanksgiving is offered in prayer. God’s love is perceived. And the gospel is being preached in this new area. Indeed, all things work together for good, when people love God.