[843 acres] Natural Disasters

by amyjuliabecker

“Acts of God” – hurricanes, fires, floods – are in the news daily, particularly when individual lives and the traces of civilization are wiped out. Christians wrestle to understand God’s presence in the face of such disasters.

In the current issue of the New Yorker, Christine Kenneally reports on the fires that decimated miles of Australia earlier this year. She describes the 300 foot fire wall and the burned homes. In one case, she writes, “police found a house with the remains of nine bodies: eight adults had formed a protective huddle around a baby.” [The Inferno].

What do we make of such devastation? What do we make of a dead baby? On the one hand, creation is fallen and this world is not as God planned. On the other hand, God could have stopped the fire.

I don’t understand. And yet there are some things I know. I know that God is just, merciful, loving, and compassionate, that He suffered for us and suffers with us, and that He restores and redeems:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Romans 8:22-24, NIV.

Perhaps the proper response is to participate in the groaning – not the groaning that leads to death but rather the groaning of childbirth that leads to life. I may not understand fully, but I can hope for and await the redemption that is to come.

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2 Comments to “[843 acres] Natural Disasters”

  1. Hi Amy Julia,

    I just read this not realizing it was you until I came back to respond. Hi again. This just reminded me of a video that I recently saw on another blog that I read. Just the intro is relevent, but it also touches upon God’s presence in the midst of heart breaking tradgedy. So I wanted to post a link to that video.

    http://www.bringthebooks.org/2009/09/piper-on-new-calvinists.html

    “Where was God? Our answer is not that God was not there or helpless…the God who was sovreign, ruling, all wise in that moment also has the power, wisdom, goodness to help you make something of the life that has so hardly dealt with you…” Paraphrase from the video.

    I think that so many people can ask the question, “Where was God when *this* happened to me?” He was there and in control, but He is also here now and in control of our healing. Profoundly difficult to accept, but also profoundly steadying.

  2. Thanks for that video. I not only appreciate Piper’s words but also his tone. When I have faced tragedy in my own life, all I have come to realize is that “I understand that I do not understand.” It takes an act of faith to believe in God’s goodness and power in the face of suffering, but it also takes an act of faith to disbelieve. There is too much, from the resurrection onward, to make me believe that God is working a plan for good, even as it often feels there is too much, from tsunamis to wars to famine to car accidents, that make me wonder why that plan isn’t more obvious.

    Thanks again,

    Amy Julia

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