Natural Disasters - WDGS?

"How can you expect me to even consider worshiping a God that allows such human pain and suffering?"  WDGS

I get that a lot when I witness to folks.  So, what's the answer?  What does God say (WDGS)?

As we watch our televisions seeing in graphic detail the horror of the quakes and tsunami in Japan that occurred this month, we pray for mercy, comfort, healing, and hope for the people of Japan.  Since we know God is in control of all things, that He is sovereign (Deuteronomy 4: 39), we know that this 'natural disaster' did not catch Him off-guard.  So then why?  Why did our loving Lord allow it to happen, or more correctly said, why did He cause it?  Doesn't God know that this is no way to win friends?

Well, I can't say for sure.  But I do know that: He loves us; He is concerned about everything in our lives especially the most important thing in our lives-  saving our souls from an eternity apart from Him; and that He uses all things for our good, even natural disasters.  When you think about it, we are the natural disaster- we were born in sin which brings eternal condemnation (and we all have sinned and fall short of the grace of God).  And without a Savior, nothing we can do in our natural lifetime here makes any difference.  So, if this disaster in Japan brings some, many, perhaps tens of thousands closer to the one, true God, and many are saved, that's way better than not having the natural disaster.   I know it sounds crazy, but we have to trust God and see things, including ourselves, through God's eyes.  Without Jesus as our savior, we are a spiritual disaster.  We need supernatural help, and that is Jesus.  These things are easy to say when I sit here  half way around the world away in my comfortable home, yet in the past year, I have watch two of my friends that did not know Christ die-  now that is an 'up close', natural disaster.  Yet there was and is emergency relief available for that disaster...Jesus Christ.

Our hearts should go out each day in prayer for those around us and in the world that are suffering, especially those that are suffering without Christ.  With or without suffering, those that don't know God will face an eternity in hell.  Our job is to pray, and teach, and be servants to Christ, so that all might have eternal life.  It takes a broken heart to accept Christ, and a continually broken heart to love those that are suffering with, and without Christ.  One thing I know, and that is the will of the Father- that all would be saved (Colossians 1: 9-20).  He has and will do anything, anything to draw us to the Savior.

I saw a photo today of a Japanese man adrift at sea, floating on what use to be the roof of his house.  He was stranded and waiting to be saved, waving at the rescue workers as they approached who were taking photos of the event.  When I saw that photo the first thing I thought of was.....this is exactly what Jesus sees as He looks at His children here on planet earth that do not know Him.  He sees His beloved children stranded, helpless, children that HE created needing to be rescued in the worst way.  I am so glad He came to rescue me, and I pray that He has or will soon rescue you, and many, many, more of us stranded in our own, natural disasters.

So in our suffering, and yes we all will suffer in many ways at some time in our lives (some more than others), we have the choice of either blaming God and turning away from Him, or, turning to God and trusting Him.  Job said it best, just after he had everything taken away from him (except his less than supportive wife) 'Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him" (Job 13: 15).  If it takes suffering to bring us to Him for our most important need, even the horrific suffering that the people of Japan have been experiencing through these disasters, from the spiritual viewpoint, this is the greater good.  Whoever calls on His name, shall be saved (Joel 2: 32).

In the mean time, what should we do?  Those of us that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior- pray for mercy, pray for grace (salvation), thank God that He has spared us, and as we open our hearts to those in need in Japan, and everyone else in our lives, open our pocket books and send a love offering to those in the mist of this natural disaster though a Christian outreach and relief group so that as aid is provided, Christ is served.  And for those that do not know Jesus as Lord, pray that He will come, knock on the door of your heart, you will open it, and receive grace from God himself (Revelation 3: 20-21).

Deuteronomy 4: 39 (NKJV)   "39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above  and on the earth beneath: there is no other."

Colossians 1: 9-20 (KJV)

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; 20 and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Job 13: 15 (NKJV)      "15 Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him..."

Joel 2:32 (NKJV)        "32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved..."

Revelation 3: 20-21 (NKJV)   "20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."

Disclaimer:  These writings are not intended to be comprehensive by any means- there are tons of references that apply to the topics at hand.  I have included those Bible verses that God has put on my heart on these topics.  The 'What Does God Say (WDGS)' writings are meant to help us understand, through God's Word, things in our lives that are challenging, controversial, or are from Satan for the expressed purpose of confusing us, drawing us to popular or 'politically correct' positions, and leading us away from God.  The deceiver doesn't have to work too hard at this because peer pressure and persecution against anyone expressing/living what God says are well established in the world; a world that is at enmity with God.  I encourage you to read the sections in the Bible where references are pulled from; the context of each verse is important in understanding the content of the message.  The intent here is not to have a Bible study on each verse, although that would be great, but rather to draw you to His Word to help us make 'sense' of these challenging topics, to understand Him, His kingdom, where we fit in, what we should be about, how we live, who we are, and what God says we should believe.  God wants and needs us to be interactive, thinking beings searching for truth and applying it where ever we go and to whatever we do.  That's life in Christ Jesus!