There are many opinions about flooding, drought, tornadoes, and other disasters. Some people just shrug their shoulders and say, “Stuff happens.” Some people get mad at God, shake their fists in the air, and ask, “Why are you doing this, God?” Some (mistakenly, I believe) say it’s God’s judgment on this nation because we have turned away from Him. But what does the Bible say? Is God a cruel judge, taking His revenge and trying to destroy us? Is it just nature? Do we bring any of these calamities on ourselves?
First, let me say that my heart and my prayers go out to those who have been devastated by those floods in Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. It must be so hard to be visited by the same destruction just a year after the previous one, scarcely enough time to recover the first time. Then there’s the loss of life. Although I have never been through these things and don’t know how it feels, I can still feel grief for those who have suffered and lost so much.
Secondly, although the people who designed the levee system had the best of intentions (creating more places for people to build homes where they could enjoy fishing and a simple, rural life), it turns out not to have been such a great idea, because when the rains come the river that would have had more room to spread out had the levees not been built, now has nowhere to go but over the banks of the levees, creating chaos and destruction.
God sends rain for various reasons: to provide water and nutrients for the plants and trees to grow, to provide drinking water for us as well as wildlife. He sends rain to soften the ground to get rid of dead growth. God cleans up the planet He created and populated.
Does God send disasters to punish us? Well, we certainly deserve it (Romans 3:10–There is none righteous, no not one, and Romans 3:23–The wages (what we earn/deserve) of sin is death (eternal damnation) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.) We don’t get our punishment from God in this life; we get it in the hereafter–if we have not repented of our sin and asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We get our just reward or punishment when we stand before God at the end of this life.
The reason we suffer loss and tragedy is because God wants us to turn to Him for help. We were created with a need for His fellowship, but we stifle it because we want our own way. We don’t want a God to tell us what’s best for us (no wonder our kids are rebellious, not wanting to listen to our wisdom). We want a god we can appease and bring down to our level, a god who will be like a kindly grandfather or Santa Claus, doling out gifts to everyone. But that’s not who God is. He loves us so much that He wants to save us from ourselves and our enslavement to this world. If we won’t turn to Him and accept His blessings when times are good, then He will ALLOW tragedy or difficulty in order to try to remind us that we really can’t do everything without Him. He wants us to love Him back because He loves us so much that He sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son to take our penalty for us so we wouldn’t have to.
If you watch the news during these tragedies, and if the news is honest, you will see two responses to these tragedies: those who feel completely devastated, destroyed and hopeless, and those who say that, although they have lost much, with God’s help they’ll be able to recover. That’s not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. It’s active faith. God honors that kind of faith. Tragedy and devastation happen to God’s people, too, but we have learned that we can trust Him. We too have our hurts and problems, but we also know without any doubt, that God will see us through. God promised His people an abundant life. He wants everyone to be His child. He will try everything to get us to turn to Him. After all, if God can create everything and keep all the planets in order, what can He not do? Think about it. Turn to Him. Ask Him to help you through your tough times. He’s waiting with open arms.