Where Was God?

Whenever a natural disaster strikes, some people cannot help but question God because of it.  They speak of the even as “an act of God,” which makes it appear that He was responsible for it happening.  Even if they do not overtly blame God for the disaster, they impugn His name by making such a reference to it.  To call a tornado or an earthquake an act of God places Him in the company of the Gods of mythology, who often toyed with mankind by means of such events.  Our Father in heaven does not do such things.

Some, of course, are more open about their feelings.  Skeptics use such events to question why a loving God would allow such things to happen.  They do this to purposely discredit God because they do not believe in Him.  Sometimes, even believers question God by asking where He was when their loved ones were being hurt or killed, or their possessions were being destroyed.  All such questions besmirch the good name of our Father in heaven and reveal an ignorance of God’s character and the nature of the world in which we live.

According to the scriptures, God made the world and everything in it to be the perfect place for mankind to live in preparation for eternity.  In Gen. 1:31 the scripture says, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”   There were no natural disasters in that world; no pain, suffering or death.  All of this changed, however, when Adam and Eve sinned.  As a result of their sin, God cursed the world and caused the ground to bring forth weeds of all kinds (Gen. 3:18, 19).  Work became toil, and death became every person’s destiny.  In the days of Noah, God further cursed the world by altering the climatic conditions that had prevailed since the beginning.  The description of the flood shows the upheaval that overtook the earth to cleanse it of the wickedness that then pervaded it.  After the flood, the world became subject to the extremes of weather to which we are now accustomed.  Wind, rain, snow, hail, heat, and drought became the norm (Gen. 8:22).

When natural disasters strike, they do so because this is the nature of the world in which we live.  When bad things happen to good people, these, too, are simply the nature of the world in which we live.  In Lk. 13:1-5 the Lord spoke of such events when He commented on some Galileans who were killed by Pilate and the eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them.  He did not blame His Father, nor did He question His Father’s character because of these events.  Instead, the Lord called on people to repent because life is fragile and may be taken from them at a moment’s notice.  The Lord wanted us to understand that our eternal destiny is far more important than what happens to us in life.

The great patriarch Job suffered more losses of the type that people use to question God than any other person in scripture.  He lost his possessions at the hands of wicked people who ruthlessly attacked his holdings, and he lost his loved ones in a natural disaster that could have been a tornado (Job 1:18, 19).  His response to this calamity was to mourn his losses and to worship God (Job 1:20).  He gave glory to God and the scripture says of him, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”  We should be like Job in this respect.

We sing a song that says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through.  My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”  While we mourn for those who suffer loss, and offer them help and comfort, let us also glorify God who sent His Son to afford us entrance to His unshakable kingdom where God will wipe every tear from our eyes.