Think on These Things: Positive thoughts in a negative world…
Natural disasters are a fact of life. Floods wash away homes, tornadoes demolish houses, landslides bury neighborhoods, volcanoes spew molten lava over cities, and pandemics take lives. As quick as a blink of an eye, an earthquake can hit a country like the one that devastated Haiti about ten years ago, or a hurricane like Katrina can wipe out a whole city as big as New Orleans.
Although God is omnipotent and could stop these forces of nature, many times He chooses not to. There may be more occasions when He chooses to stop them, but we’ll never really know how many times He has protected us, will we? However, when disasters occur there always seems to be at least one soap box Christian eager to say it is God’s punishment for sin. I’m not so sure about that.
Those who presume to know why God does or does not allow a tragedy are really just speculating. They may think they are intimate confidants of God, but they are really just self-proclaimed interpreters of their own perceptions.
It’s true that God did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but there are more examples of Him just letting nature take its course. Sin does not always need God’s wrath to get one’s attention or every gluttonous, greedy, oppressive person we know would be zapped immediately. Sin carries its own penalty, but sometimes that takes time.
The sad part of this mode of thinking is that it leads people to believe every bad thing that happens to a person is the result of his or her sin. That simply is not true. We all know bad things happen to good people all the time. A few biblical examples would be John the Baptist having his head cut off and served on a platter to Salome, righteous Job losing everything he had, and Stephen being stoned to death.
Don’t misunderstand me. God is God. He can do whatever He chooses and allow anything He wishes. However, Haiti is located on a fault line and New Orleans is in hurricane heaven. Sometimes a tragedy is time, chance, and circumstance. God can teach us, and we can learn lessons from the aftermath of anything that happens. However, sometimes a natural disaster could just be a natural disaster.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8 (KJV)