What a crazy week!! The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, radiation coming over the ocean, and the conversation about God in natural disasters rise to the surface as more and more people are wondering, "Where is God?"
Where is a loving God in the midst of such a horrible disaster?
Couldn't He stop the earthquake?
Couldn't He keep thousands of people out of harms way?
What kind of God allows for such tragedy?
I've heard many discussions about the end of the world, the second coming around the corner, and the ultimate obliteration of today's planet in favor of God's cosmic reset button. But is that really a Biblical model? Would God really destroy all He's created by eliminating thousands of innocent people?
What about Jesus' comment to pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9-13)
The news blogs I've been reading are quite vehement condemning the idea of God in lieu of the crisis, but do we have to throw out the idea of a loving God as we deal with issues here on the planet?
I don't think so.
Calls for God during times of tragedy are nothing new. It seems like every time something catastrophic happens, people cry "Where was God?"
Where was God during the Holocaust?
Where was God during the Vietnam?
Where was God during the Middle East conflicts?
Where was God during the Chinese cultural revolution?
Where was God during 9-11?
Where is God in our own personal experiences of death, disease, and tragedy?
It calls into question our core view of who God is and what His response to the ills of the world are. At the core of the "Where was God" question is the idea that God is some sort of cosmic genie that can be called out to grant three wishes, and then crawl back in until we need Him.
If that's the God we're looking for, I think we'll be sorely disappointed.
The God who created the Universe isn't some entity to be controlled by mankind. He's not waiting on our every whim to do our bidding, and He's certainly not interested in the three wishes doctrine.
No, He's the God who created the world. (Genesis)
He's the God who brought His people out of Egypt. (Exodus)
He's the God who set up the law of mankind to show us the 'right' way to live. (Leviticus)
He's the God who cares for the people under His tent. (Numbers)
He's the God who helped show humanity we can do nothing without His guidance. (Deuteronomy)
He's the God who gave a way of redemption through the prophets and the judges.
He's the God who sent His only Son Jesus, to redeem mankind and begin a new creation.
And He's the God who ultimately will rule the planet into eternity.
I wonder when when we ask God, "where were you?" if He doesn't look down at us and ask us, "yea, where were you?"
Where were you when war broke out to undermine innocent people?
Where were you when conflict arises and 'love your neighbor' goes out the window?
Where were you when you created a nuclear power plant to provide energy to your own people, but failed to think about what might happen in the worst case scenario?
Where were you?
Granted, we can do little to curb earthquakes, and tsunami events, but we might be able to read through history and see the earth in great turmoil. It was Paul who said, "the whole earth is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." (Romans 8:22) And that pain the earth is crying for is the need for rebirth. The longing for the natural world to be reconciled back to the way it was in the beginning is all a part of God's ultimate plan.
He is a God interested in re-creating.
He is a God interested in restoring.
He's a God who continues to provide hope when it seems there is no hope.
He's a God who makes all things new.
And this is the story of the Gospel, mainly the hope we have that all things be made in His likeness once again.
Without Him, we live in a world with no hope. We exist in a place in the universe where we have to be content with tragedy, and that alone is a reason to believe in the life giving power of God.
There's always several ways to look at a tragedy like we've seen in Japan from a metaphysical point of view, but the one that gets us through the morrow is the Worldview where a loving God can put back into place the pieces we've messed up.
Much like the Psalmist wrote in solidarity, I cry the words today…
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.