Sunday, August 24, 2014

The God of Natural Disasters: California Earthquake

This morning, right before 3:30 a.m. I woke to the shaking of my bed and the blinds on my bedroom window. I am not quite sure which pulled me from sleep…the tremor or the tapping. This was only the second time in sixteen years I had experienced such an occurrence. The first was years ago in Southern California…exactly the same as this. Nothing fell from the shelves, counters, dressers, or high places. The children were still fast asleep, safe in their beds. We were fortunate. There was no damage or injury. Others, were not.

This was a 6.0 earthquake six kilometers Northwest of American Canyon and six miles Southwest of Napa. We live in one of the bordering counties and though a State of Emergency has been declared for our county, we are thankful nothing was destroyed in our area and are prayerful for those who were affected.

Being my own words fall far from adequate regarding God and natural disasters, I will use those of Pastor John Piper. He states,
Who suffers from this fallen world of natural disasters? All of us, Christians included: “Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). For those who cast themselves on the mercy of Christ these afflictions are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And when death comes, it is a door to paradise. But for those who do not treasure Christ, suffering and death are God’s judgment. “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

For children, who are too young to process mentally the revelation of God in nature or Scripture, death is not the final word of judgment. God’s commitment to display his justice publicly means that he does not finally condemn sinful people who could not physically construe natural or special revelation (Romans 1:20). There is a difference between suppressing revelation that one can mentally comprehend (Romans 1:18), and not having a brain sufficient to comprehend it at all. Therefore, when small children suffer and die, we may not assume they are being punished or judged. No matter how horrible the suffering or death, God can turn it for their greater good….

When the Bible says, “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15), it does not add, “unless God caused the weeping.” Job’s comforters would have done better to weep with Job than talk so much. That does not change when we discover that Job’s suffering was ultimately from God. No, it is right to weep with those who suffer. Pain is pain, no matter who causes it. We are all sinners. Empathy flows not from the causes of pain, but the company of pain. And we are all in it together.
(By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website:

I feel we are called to
15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15. ESV.)
and to serve those who are in need. Which reminds me, I was talking with someone today and expressing how it is my opinion businesses should offer “Disaster Relief” to those who need assistance. I was told some companies drive up their prices during emergencies. Which makes me sick! Why gouge people who have just lost so much…maybe even EVERYTHING? It’s disgusting to me! It should be the opposite. Goods and services should be DONATED or for a MINIMAL “Disaster Relief” Fee instead of double or triple their prices just because they can!

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:9-20. ESV.)

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