“His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus’ reply turned the disciples’ world upside down: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
There are two main messages in this incident. The first is that we should not presume that we know the mind of God in any given situation unless revelation indicates otherwise. The other message is that if we ask God why in these situations, He may very well tell us the answer if it will serve His purposes.
Luke 13:1-5 “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men that lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.”
Jesus says here that not all calamities are personal judgment from God. He then adds that since all men and women are sinners, there is a judgment coming on those who do not repent. As my daughter, “Undone: Stepping into Simplicity”, said, “Why would God single out Japan for harsh judgment more than anyone else?”
The story of Job tells of an individual who suffered from one hideous catastrophe to another until he had lost everything and everyone he loved except for his wife. His “friends” insisted that Job must have committed some horrible sin for God to punish him so severely. They were so wrong. God never did tell Job the why; He just showed Job that unless he could understand the mind of God, he had no business even asking why.
In Romans 8, Paul speaks of the fact that all of creation continues to to suffer due to the corruption of sin working in the world. I understand that these “natural disasters” are the result of this corruption. God may certainly use them in whatever way He will. In the absence of any other indication, I believe it is an opportunity for me to pray, a reminder for me to “examine myself” so that my life is right with God. Second, I should be praying for God’s mercy and grace on the survivors of a catastrophe, that they might experience God’s loving kindness, and find life and peace in Jesus.
So, what is your response to natural disasters? Other views than mine are welcome as long as they are stated respectfully.
The idea for this blog post was sparked at ILJ Boards