Spring 2011 has brought a slew of natural disasters to the South and Midwest. With Tornadoes making a memory of much of Tuscaloosa Alabama, there are certainly people who are asking why? Why would God allow a Tornado to move through the heart of the South? Is He judging us? Why wouldn't He stop it before the disaster ravages the homes of innocent people?
A few years ago, when Hurricane Katrina swept over much of the south, I heard Christian leaders cry out about God's judgement on New Orleans and the gambling sin of the Gulf States. But they seem to be quiet about Alabama. Why the silence?
Or what about my old hometown of Branson Missouri. The flood of 2011 has taken the homes and livelihoods away from many of my friends. Did God really want that to happen? Why couldn't he stop this?
So it brings us to one of the hardest questions in the Christian Faith.
If God is so good, and all powerful, then why does he allow this kind of disaster on the planet? For, if your God is truly good, wouldn't He see fit to keep these kinds of disasters away?
And believe me…I've tried to answer this.
I've tried to research it to find the answers from some of the best theological minds in history. The answers simply reduced to their most remedial form…I don't know.
Paul gave a shot at this in Romans when he wrote, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to son ship, the redemption of our bodies." – Romans 8:22-23 (NIV)
Or maybe you could read Jesus' encounter with the sick man in John 9, "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” -John 9:1-5
So the only real answer is: Sin, it's effects on the planet, and God's ultimate plan.
The whole earth is spinning with a sin nature, and it's only by God's reconciliation plan that we will ever be moving back to a place that's made right. It's His plan from the beginning to move us out of natural disasters and sickness towards a place where there will be no more crying, no more pain, no more disaster, and NO MORE SIN!
I know it doesn't suffice if you're living in Alabama looking at the remnants of your home, but the only way to find hope in your situation is to look for hope in the future.
If you're an atheist, you still have to deal with natural disasters. You don't get a "buy" just because you don't believe in God. But your answer has to be something like, "Well, stuff happens." Which really doesn't give us any hope at all for the future. We'll just keep living through one natural disaster, one after another, until it finally returns us to the dust.
So the best I can do…
- Natural disasters happen in the world because of a global sin.
- Sickness happens so God's grace might be revealed.
- God is in the business of providing hope.
- Some day, it's all going to come back together again.
Until then…we'll be praying and helping people put their lives back together.