“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” – Luke 21:27-28.
The last few weeks have been traumatic for Americans. We saw in high definition the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. We saw the heart wrenching pictures of Texans wading through water that covers prized possessions. Then we have Irma, a massive hurricane devastating the Caribbean and now Florida. We have another hurricane striking Mexico. But these hurricanes are only the latest in a long series of other terrible disasters around the world that include earthquakes, tsunamis cyclones, and volcano eruptions, etc. These are all what insurance companies refer to as “acts of God”. In other words they are events outside the control of man.
All of this leaves us with very tough questions: “Where is God when disaster strikes?” Why did God allow this tragedy? A good and loving and powerful God could have prevented all this suffering couldn’t He? So where was He? Why didn’t He intervene?” This is a question for the ages. People far from the heart of God and those who are followers of God have asked that question. Not surprisingly many great saints in the Bible struggled with this question. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?vWhy are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” (Psalm 22:1)
Job suffered for a long time and had no answers to his questions. The Psalmist sometimes felt overwhelmed and confused. For example in Psalm 69:14-15 we read, “Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.”
So what are we to do? We need to trust God because God is with us in every storm. As hard as it is to do, turn your attention away from the crisis and focus on God. It does you no good to obsess yourself with things that are beyond your control. The more you focus and obsess on it, the bigger it grows. You gain nothing by setting your eyes on the calamities. You gain everything by setting your eyes on the Lord. The more you look to God, the quicker the problem is reduced to its proper size. This was the strategy of the psalmist: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Where is God when disaster strikes? He is right there reaching out in love to all who will turn to Him. He is the God who cares, the One who saves. As Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
- Read Psalm 46: How does that affect your thinking when natural disasters strike?
- What can we do to trust God in time of natural disaster?