As I watched the apocalyptic scenes taking place in Japan, with waves of destruction eating up what was left of the earthquake shaken city, my first thought was…… why?
Why did this happen? Why do these natural disasters, like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, keep occuring?
Why does God allow so much pain, death and devastation? And does He allow them, or cause them?
These are questions that likely every human being is grappling with. Although we do not intend to question God, or His goodness, we cannot help but wonder why, as we hear of the tens of thousands of lives lost, and see the human suffering taking place right before our eyes.
It is easy to understand the logistics of why natural disasters occur, because of weather patterns, storms over the sea, or tectonic plates bumping together, but why does God allow it?
But then again, why does God allow anything bad to happen?
The answer is simply found when we go back to the basics of our beliefs —– we live in a fallen world, a sinful world, and that is why Jesus came to save us.
GotQuestions.org explained it this way: “In much the same way that God allows evil people to commit evil acts, God allows the earth to reflect the consequences sin has had on creation.
Romans 8:19-21 tells us, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
The fall of humanity into sin had effects on everything, including the world we inhabit. Everything in creation is subject to “frustration” and “decay.” Sin is the ultimate cause of natural disasters just as it is the cause of death, disease, and suffering.”
Knowing the character of God as it is described in the Bible, I have to trust that God’s heart is breaking as He looks down on Japan and sees people suffering, just as His heart breaks when we sin, or suffer in daily circumstances.
But one thing is for sure – when things like this happen, we are forced to think about one question – “would we be ready?” Not would we be disaster-ready, with bottled water and food stored away, but would we be heart-ready, for eternity.
It causes us to examine our own foundation of beliefs, our faith and our future.
I have read that after such natural disasters, churches are filled with people who do not normally attend. People who have become acutely aware of the fact that life can end in an instant. People who are shaken up enough emotionally to see their need for a sovereign God.
Also, when we are faced with a life threatening situation, we are often compelled to realign our priorities. Our eyes are opened, and we suddenly acknowledge that the unimportant things of life have been taking precedence over the things that really matter.
We may realize that we have been taking our blessings for granted, and feel God calling us to pour out gratitude and thankfulness for who He is and all He has done for us.
Countless numbers of people are led to fervently pray for strangers they have never met, and will probably never meet.
People all over the world, of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds, come together to help raise funds to help those in need.
Christian ministries are given wide open doors to share faith like never before.
If you really think about it, the world actually seems to become much smaller, when we universally have one focus of love and hope.
Regardless of whether or not we ever know the answers to our “why’s”, we must hang onto to the truth that no matter what – God is good.
No matter what, God has a plan for everyone, as we are told in Jeremiah 29:11
No matter what, God has a purpose for everything, as we are reminded in Romans 8:28.
No matter what, God is love, as we are told in 1 John 4:8.
And Psalm 56:8 reminds us of God’s goodness and compassion, as He catches every tear, “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” The Message
Despite the heartbreak that I feel for Japan, and the heartbreak and fear that I can physically see in the eyes of the survivors, I have to trust that God does have a reason, a purpose, and a plan for this disaster, and for all the people involved.
I hope and pray that many of the people who lost their lives in this disaster, are now sitting at the feet of Jesus, and that those who are left, may be led to meet Him here on earth for the very first time.