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Philippines Typhoon Haiyan - Why does God allow suffering?

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One of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall, Haiyan—named “Yolanda” by Filipino authorities, barreled into the eastern coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday. It then headed west, sweeping through six central Philippine islands.

Officials estimate up to 10,000 people have died in Tacloban City and elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. In the days following this disaster, one survivor said, “We are so very hungry and thirsty.”

Drinking water and food is scarce in these devastated areas. More than nine million people have been affected in the Philippines, and many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water.

Haiyan brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

The world has not seen a storm like this before,” said Senen Mangalile, the Philippines Consul General to the UK.

Why does God allow Suffering? Why is there a history of so much suffering in this world?

Jesus Christ prophesied the end times—which it would seem are what we are living in now—and how terrible natural disasters such as hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, famines and pestilences would be “the beginning of sorrows.” These calamities will precede the final three-and-a-half years of the “Great Tribulation” prior to Christ’s return to this Earth (Matthew 24, Luke 21).

These end-times and the disasters destroying many thousands of people’s lives remind us of the importance of Isaiah’s words to turn and to seek God now, while He may be found:

Isaiah 55:6 Isaiah 55:6Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near:
American King James Version×
—Seek you the LORD while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near.

Isaiah 55:7 Isaiah 55:7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
American King James Version×
—Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

From the time of Adam and Eve, to the Flood in Noah’s day, and on up through history, men and women have rejected the true God—God our Father and God His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 5:20 1 John 5:20And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
American King James Version×

So because human beings have rejected the true God, and do not want to love God and love living by God’s good laws and way of life, then God has given them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:21-27 Romans 1:21-27 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. 24 Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
American King James Version×
), to be at the mercy of all the natural elements, typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, forest fires, wars, disease and all manner of sufferings.

2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×
—“whose minds the god of this age (Satan) has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

This is the reason why there is so much suffering in this world of Satan the devil’s rulership over this Earth.

Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” who broadcasts the attitudes of rebellion and disobedience against God:

Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
American King James Version×
—in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air , the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience

The reason we have so much suffering in this world is because human beings have rejected and forsaken God and stubbornly will not turn and seek God now while He may be found.

God has allowed approximately 6,000 years for mankind to write the fact into history that mankind’s way, apart from God, does not work.

Jesus Christ will return in glory and power to end the misery and suffering that Satan’s rulership has propagated, and show human beings that Satan’s rebellious ways do not make for a good life.

Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×
—So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 Revelation 20:2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
American King James Version×
—He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years

Human kind will then be ready for Jesus Christ’s return, having learned the hard way that mankind’s way does not work. They will get to experience rulership under Jesus Christ, who will establish 1,000 years of peace, harmony and prosperity for all. No more weather disasters, wars, famines or terrible diseases.

Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
American King James Version×
—Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

If you would like to know more about why God allows suffering in this world, and when God is going to intervene to “wipe away all tears,” we have a free and much more in-depth Bible study aid called Why Does God Allow Suffering?