Rising above the ashes

March 17, 2011 in Question of the Week, What are your thoughts on the unfolding disaster in Japan? by Bob McBride

Natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week, the Haiti quake, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and so forth raise so many questions for all of us. Where is God? If God is good, and/or if God is in control, why do unspeakably terrible things happen to so many good people?

“O God, where art thou,” is a common phrase uttered over and over when tragedy strikes us personally or when we witness a catastrophic event such as last week’s devastating earthquake in Japan. Our faith and resolve can be tested unless firmly rooted in the Creator Himself. Personal and catastrophic tragedy has been evident from shortly after Adam and Eve were placed on the earth and throughout all periods of time. Was the loss of Able at the hands Cain (Genesis 4:8) not a personal tragedy to our first earthly parents and when the flood cleansed the earth in Noah’s day (Genesis 7), was it not a worldwide catastrophic event?

Earthquakes and other natural calamities are part of God’s plan. In them he delivers his servants as he did Paul and Silas from prison (Acts 16:25-26). Through them, He showed forth his great power at both the crucifixion and resurrection of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The majesty of the earthquake was so great that the centurion and those that were with him confessed that “Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:50-54; Matthew 28:1-2)

We are also learn in the Gospel of Mark that wars, earthquakes, famines and troubles are signs of the times and preparatory to the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  (Mark 13:3-8)

Regardless the reason of “why bad things happen to good people” we must never lose sight that God knows the beginning from the end and that good things can certainly come from bad situations. Life is eternal, death is only the passing from this mortal existence to an immortal state; eventually having our physical body reunited with our spirit. All of us were born into this world for a wise purpose and we are all subject to the trials of life.  Whether taken prematurely in death or later in life, we are stewards of what God has granted us here upon the earth.

What good can possibly come from a massive earthquake that kills thousands of individuals, tears apart families, brings financial ruin upon many and cripples a nation? Perhaps, if no lessons are learned from this seemingly tragic experience then much is lost; but if man and nations humble themselves and turn towards God in the darkest of times, if those not directly affected grow from sacrifice, and if greater love is shown toward God and our fellow men, then perhaps individuals and nations can rise above the ashes and learn that even the most challenging and darkest of times can be for our benefit.