When disaster strikes I Worship

By Mark Smith | Oct 11, 2017

This fall, our country has suffered one disaster after another – both of the natural and man-made variety.  So many lives lost. Families are trying to pick up the pieces and begin again. After such terrible tragedy, the question is always asked, “Why would God allow such a thing? Why do bad things happen to good people?”

There was a strong ancient belief that all misfortunes were the result of one’s own wrongdoing.  If you experience trouble and disaster, it’s because you did something to deserve it, and God is punishing you in some way for your sins.

In the Bible, a man named Job experiences one calamity after another. Job's friends try to "comfort" Job by offering explanations for his suffering.  His friends tell him it is his fault – he must have committed some terrible sin. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with Job, who had been living a very upright life.

The suffering we experience in life is not necessarily because of anything we have done or failed to do. It is rather a part of what it means to be human.  That's an important point to grasp.  To be human is to suffer – one way or another. It's part of life; it’s inescapable.  We will suffer physically or mentally or emotionally.  We will all experience loss. Some of us will fall victim to some random disaster – being at the wrong place at the wrong time – and feel totally helpless to do anything about it.

Suffering comes as a result of living in a broken, fallen world. Life is not what God intended it to be. Life, therefore, isn't always fair. Earthquakes, hurricanes will continue to strike, and crazy, evil people will continue to commit murder, and innocent people will die.

Sadly, that is life in a fallen world. Life isn't fair, and nobody ever said it was.  If you understand that, you don't whine when hard things come, and you're not smug if everything is going your way.  Life just happens.

And half the battle in dealing with disastrous circumstances is realizing that it’s part of what it is to be human.  It means deciding to live each day as best we can, striving to make this world a better place. It means being ready for anything, for anything can happen.  Life isn't for sissies.

For people of faith, however, there is sure and certain hope. Everything we know about God, and all that our faith teaches us leads us to believe that God is working his purposes out, and that "all things work together for good to them that love God"  (Romans 8:28). We human beings see from a limited perspective, thinking that disaster has the final word.  But God sees the whole, and what is unfair this side of heaven will somehow be made right on the other side, for God is a God of perfect justice.

There is so much we don’t know. How God is going to turn disaster into anything ultimately good or positive for us will remain a mystery. But we are not supposed to know – only God sees the beginning from the end. We simply choose to believe there is a bigger picture and that God will bring everything to a proper conclusion in God’s own time.

In faith, we choose to believe that our disaster stories will turn out to be a very bad chapter in a very good book that God himself is writing, and that all things will therefore come to a wonderful conclusion – more wonderful than we can imagine. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love him . . .”  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

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