Nena Arias | September 17, 2018Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19
One of the first questions when natural disasters strike is “where is God when disaster strikes?” or “why does God allow these bad things to happen if he is powerful enough to prevent them?” These disasters include earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes or deadly droughts or flooding that cause so much human suffering and loss of life. If he loves us and he is Lord of all creation, why doesn’t he prevent this suffering? Does he care about the trail of grief and chaos? Do you have accurate and satisfactory answers to these challenging questions?
As we see loss and disaster, people struggle to understand how a God who is all-powerful and all-knowing can also be considered good and loving yet he allows such destruction, suffering and pain.
To begin arriving at the accurate answer to why God allows human suffering, let’s put first things first. We have to remember that the world is fallen and so are we. God has no intention that the human race continue to live in a less than perfect world. So, his ultimate goal is to rid the world and us from the effects of sin, but it must be done his way. The elements don’t work to perfection because of sin. Our bodies are in decay because of sin. The Bible says that when man fell into sin, all of nature was cursed. In other words, it was impossible for a sinful man to live in a perfect environment of paradise, so all of nature suffered a curse too (Romans 8:19-22). Thanks to Jesus, it can be reversed. Through him we have been given authority to take dominion over the elements just like he did with the storm in the Sea of Galilee when he rebuked the storm and it obeyed him. “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
Second, not only is the world fallen but also, we make decisions and carry out actions whose inspiration and motives are not right, and they will produce results after their own kind, which can cause much suffering produced by us.
Thirdly, there is the judgment of God that must come because God will not allow sin to go unpunished not only in the hereafter but in this world during our earthly lives. The Bible teaches that God is involved in some of the natural disasters due to his judgment. The plagues of Egypt are one example so is the flood in Noah’s day. The very fact that He could prevent them shows that we need to face squarely the fact that some natural disasters happen with God’s approval for a very just cause and purpose. He always has very just and righteous reasons and a much higher and all-encompassing perspective why this is so. But, if there is one thing we can be sure of is that God is just and will never hurt anyone just because.
Our prayers are with the people who lost homes and loved ones in the recent U.S. hurricanes and wild fires. Let’s do all we can to help them rebuild their lives. We can do more than pray. We can donate to organizations who do a great job at helping people put their lives back together again and minister to the spiritual needs. We can also volunteer time to lend a hand and make life easier for others.
So, as you can see, from God’s perspective, there is understanding on how to interpret when natural disasters come, and tragedy strikes, he is God for all seasons of life.
He loves us and he is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)