Despite some minor damage to trees and fences we have been spared the worst of the recent winter storms. Some of the devastation from flooding has been terrible and some people have sadly lost their lives, but storms Ciara and Dennis have nothing on the hurricanes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires that occur around the world from time to time. So where is God in all this? Is he good? And if so, why doesn’t he act? How do we answer such questions?
Firstly, we must insist that God is sovereign over his world and that history is ultimately dancing to his tune. That may raise some questions, but removing God’s sovereignty leaves us alone and helpless. He is in charge.
Secondly, because we are finite and limited, we have no way of knowing how God is at work through storms and floods and ‘natural’ disasters. The storm on the lake frightened the disciples to death, and perhaps caused all kinds of damage onshore, but it left the disciples marvelling at the power of Jesus.
Thirdly, Genesis 3:17 teaches that human sin and rebellion against God have affected the world too. Our sin and mismanagement of the world means that creation is now not as it should be. Natural disasters are a result of the fall.
But fourthly, we have the confident hope that it won’t always be like this. The picture the Bible gives us of the New Creation is of a re-made world, in perfect order, where there is nothing to fear, with no pain, suffering or death.
In the meantime, we have the comfort of knowing that because Jesus was fully man, we have a God who understands our pain and suffering. God is not immune or aloof, but kind, compassionate; and our true help in times of need.