When disaster strikes, where is the all-powerful God of the Bible?
I have just returned to our Ohio offices from an insightful visit to the Philippines. While there I visited some of the areas on the island of Leyte that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November of 2013. I drove through Tacloban, which you may remember as the largest city hit by the tropical cyclone. In the surrounding towns the United Church of God and LifeNets have rebuilt or repaired a number of homes that were struck by the category 5 super typhoon.
How bad was it in 2013? With sustained winds of 195 mph and devastating gusts topping 235 miles per hour, Haiyan ranks as the strongest tropical cyclone in recorded history. The devastation was mind-numbing. Death toll estimates range to as many as 20 to 30 thousand.
It’s hard to grasp the fact that entire Philippine settlements were swept out to sea by relentless winds and waves. It will likely never be known how many truly perished. Many areas of Leyte were without electrical power for nearly half a year! As I personally saw earlier this month, much of rural Leyte still suffers from the typhoon’s shattering impact.
This brings us to some natural questions:
Whenever disaster strikes and people suffer, even losing their lives, some will ask: “Why couldn’t God stop this? If God is all-powerful, why can’t He control the weather?”
The answer may be surprising. And it is rather straightforward. Simply put, the Bible shows us that this is not God’s world. God is not the author or the originator of the wars, the evil and miserable tragedies that we see about us in the chronicle of human history. That’s a chief reason why evil and tragedy keeps happening over and over and over again.
But as the Bible authoritatively shows, it will end. While our all-powerful God has allowed humanity to exercise free will, even to come under the sway and influence of the present evil “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), God will not allow humanity to completely destroy itself. And that’s the good news, the gospel message.
The powerful biblical fact is this: Jesus Christ will return to earth and establish the Kingdom of God.
This global Kingdom will replace all current flawed human government (Isaiah 9:7) and decisively end the cyclical misery of man’s existence.
Many perhaps have not fully realized that this represents the core teaching of Christianity, even from the earliest days in the first century. Consider here what the apostle Paul wrote:
“The creation itself [our present physical world] also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs” (Romans 8:20-23, emphasis added).
Subjected to torture, the physical world itself awaits the return of Jesus Christ!
Further, there truly is a cunning and powerful deceit-filled “god” of this present evil age (Galatians 1:4)! The Bible reveals critical facts about how this “god”—identified as Satan, a fallen archangel—is allowed to literally blind the minds of many to the purpose and future of humanity (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Further identified by Jesus Himself as the “father of lies” (John 8:44), Paul calls this evil being “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Thankfully, this treacherous “god” will be put away, together with the mindless cycle of devastating human misery.
So perhaps now, in the light of biblical truth, it all makes sense. God is very much aware of man’s current suffering. God has prepared a beautiful plan of redemption for the world—for you and me—that I invite you to explore further.
For now, there’s good news and bad news. Here’s the bad news: While God has not yet intervened in this world on a macro level, we must still live in it. The good news? God is available to those who respond to His call and seek Him. This includes a direct and powerful relationship, as well protection from the “god” who has for the moment enslaved this planet.
What a wonderful truth! Great calm, great peace, great understanding can come from this message.
To understand more about God’s purpose and involvement in the affairs of humankind, I invite you to send for the free study guide, the Gospel of the Kingdom. It can be downloaded instantly here: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/gospel-kingdom/.
A time is soon coming when there will be no more super typhoons or devastating disaster. Instead, Jesus Christ will reign as King of Kings, and “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
May God speed that day!
P.S. I always appreciate hearing from you. Please send your comments to email@example.com.