I read a Facebook status today which stated the following:

People might say why did God let the earthquake happen in Haiti….wrong question. We SHOULD be asking why did God not let the earthquake hit my country also. The whole world lives in darkness and God should really destroy us ALL but He has not dealt with us according to our sins (Psalm 103). His mercy is the only reason people are alive today.

With the situation as bad as it is, I think that every christian,  even though we know that we dont deserve anything from God apart from his punishment, still wonders at the back of their mind why God would allow such calamites to happen to such ‘innocent’ lives. Some people asked Jesus the same question when they enquired why people died when the tower in Siloam fell on them. This was his response:

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:1-5)

I received an email from Wretched Radio which reads as follows. As my posts states, it’s a hard pill to swallow

Who Takes the Blame for Haiti?

Rick Warren is wrong when he tweets that God does not judge the world through catastrophes (Romans 1:18).

Pat Robertson is wrong when he claims to know why the Haitian earthquake happened (Deut.29:29).

Perhaps these principles will help us figure out why tragedies happen and who is responsible.

God

God controls everything directly or indirectly by restraining His grace or allowing the devil a little more leash. Either way, God is sovereign over everything and happily accepts responsibility for both good and bad (but not sin).

The devil

The devil does not control the weather or rule the nations.

Humans

There are only two groups of people on the earth: pagans and Christians. 

Why?

When God sends/allows disaster to the pagans, He does so for two reasons: as judgment or as a call to repentance. A disaster is not enough wrath for the pagans as it is merely a taste of God’s eternal punishment if they do not repent and trust the Savior.

When God sends/allows disaster to Christians, He does so for two reasons: to prune us or kill us and take us home. A disaster is never too much or too little for the Christian, the Pruner causes/allows just the right amount for our good and His glory.

While God may be sending judgment to an entire nation, each individual (pagan and Christian) should seek to determine why God caused/allowed himself to be hurt.

Christians are not victims of collateral damage. While there may be a primary reason God sends/allows a catastrophe, God orchestrates every detail in every situation.

Catastrophes happen to heathens as an act of God’s judgment, but they happen to Christians as an act of severe mercy.

God sends/causes a disaster for the onlookers to respond with apathy or kindness.

Biblical Support

Jesus gave us the definitive statement on catastrophes in Luke 13:1-5 (see above). Please take a moment to read that text and you will never make the mistake of Rick Warren or Pat Robertson.

Trick Question

God is not to blame for the earthquake as it was the exact right thing to do. While God gets the credit for the earthquake, He is never to blame for anything. Charles Wesley wrote a number of hymns thanking God for two earthquakes that rocked England in 1751; we should do the same.

The Bottom Line

While each individual should endeavor to learn the lesson that God has in the storm, there is an ultimate purpose (forty days or otherwise): God is endeavoring to glorify His Son. God sends a taste of His wrath to the heathens that they might look to the cross and be saved. God prunes Christians that we will live in greater gratitude for what Jesus has done to rescue us from eternal destruction.

Catastrophes, like everything, are about the cross.

Related Posts:

Haiti Earhquake: Mourn with those who mourn

Why does God allow evil?

Why does God allow evil? – Part 2

Why does God allow evil? – Part 3: Pain and Suffering

Why does God allow evil? – Part 4: If God is so powerful and so good, why do bad things happen?

If God knew people would sin, why did he make them?

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Comments
  1. A great post. You are right, it is a hard pill to swallow. Sunday morning I preached Luke 13 after I was convicted by the Spirit less than two hours before the service that I must do so.

    Half the time I was preaching, I felt like ‘I KNOW this is the truth, but I feel like a jerk!’

    We and our tiny, finite brains.

  2. Lavrai says:

    Yes, it’s a hard truth… when it happens to us personally and when it happens on such a grand scale. But all I can do is ask GOD for continued mercy (HE could have leveled every building and taken every soul) and that HIS Holy Spirit would convict and convince the heart of every survivor to turn to and trust in Christ Jesus. As the Wretched Radio e-mail says, this is all about the Cross. GOD doesn’t send calamity because it amuses HIM, on the contrary, it’s about the serious business of saving our souls. When things are going fine, it’s easy for us to forget about GOD and eternity… but as soon as things get a little stirred up (our health starts failing, our finances start failing, etc.) GOD’s name is immediately on our lips. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes calamity is the only way to get us to consider the state of our souls.

    I ask GOD for continued mercy and grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Haiti. HE knows who they are and will indeed keep them.

  3. Henry says:

    Hi Alan,

    A very interesting post here. In a similar vein there was a program on TV recently asking where was God in the Asain tsunami. Don’t know if you saw it. I think it was presented by a guy who used to be a priest.

    Anyway what I find interesting is that people in the main do not care about God until disaster strikes. I have seen on several occasions where people don’t really believe in God so much or are religious but as soon as they loose a loved one they ask, “If God existed why did He let this happen?” or “Where was God?”. Yet they don’t seek God when all is rosy and well but use the disaster to then try to explain God away. In this Haiti disaster many will see it as an “evil” but yet they fail to see the miracles of a new born baby being rescued after several days and even a man being rescued after 11 days of being buried under rubble. Many of these survivors testify that it was God alone who kept them alive after so many days of being buried. So even in the midst of disasters God is being glorified. These testimonies should serve to strengthen our faith rather than to cause us to question God as to why these things happen!

    There is also another dimension though! Sometimes people see the glass half full but not half empty. Some of these same people who question God on these disasters don’t question their own leaders and governments on why for example they invaded Iraq and cause so many innocent people to die (collateral damage), which they deem necessary for the greater good. Yet they question God for bringing down His own judgement! Hmm!

    Some of these disasters are in fact man-made though. If men can seed the cloud to cause flooding, you bet they can cause tsunamis and also earthquakes using certain technologies!

  4. Hi Alan, This is indeed a difficult subject. We cannot understand and never will understand the ways of God. It is only by faith that we believe that he knows what is right and perfect for God can do no wrong. It never ceases to amaze me that people clamor about where was God when a disaster strikes, yet in between each crisis, they demand their “right” to live apart from God. We have now removed God from our government , from schools and curriculum and even from our churches! I never thought I would live in a time when the name of Jesus Christ was considered a “hate” word.

    Believers can have peace even in these dark days knowing that God’s plan will succeed in spite of man’s attempts to remove him. Even this tragedy in Haiti will be used for God’s divine purpose. God’s ways will always be higher. I for one am glad of that.

  5. Alan Higgins says:

    Marianne, I like your quote “It never ceases to amaze me that people clamor about where was God when a disaster strikes, yet in between each crisis, they demand their “right” to live apart from God”

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