Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Today the news broke about the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Our church is personally connected with Haiti because we have a church member who lives in Haiti (serving the Lord), and we know several in Haitian ministries. The news reports about the terrible destruction causes us all to pause and pray for the many people who have been grieved and hurt by this terrible tragedy.

Many, after such overwhelming events, ask the question, "WHY?" Why do bad things happen? Why do bad things happen to poor people? Why is there such pain and suffering in the world? Although such questions are deep and complicated, it is good to ponder the central issues related to the question, "WHY?", with the following:

1. Why do we ask why? What is the purpose of the question? Are we looking for ways to attack God? Are we looking for ways to justify our sin? The sinful nature is always ready to lash out at all that is good and pure. It looks for ways to excuse our sinfulness rather than confess and repent of it. Often our motives are hidden, even to ourselves. It would wise to ask, "Why do we ask the question, why?"

2. What good would it do to know the answer to this question? Are we capable of understanding the answer to this question? I think Job wanted to know "why?" Job suffered as few of us will ever understand. But in the end God did not explain "why?" Rather, God gave to Job a fresh understanding of Himself, of transcendent reality, and Job's humble place in it. God gave Job a sense of renewal based on a higher appreciation for the Person of God and for his relationship to God and life itself.

3. When natural disasters occur, we need to remember that creation is groaning. Paul would write in Romans 8:19-21, "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Here we are reminded that creation is groaning because it is subjected to the awful and terrible effects of man's sin. I think this is why there are earthquakes and other natural disasters. Sin has caused the curse of God to fall on the natural environment. But one day this curse will be removed when God will remake all of creation. Each natural disaster is a reminder of the terrible effects of sin and the joyful anticipation of the coming eschatological victory.

4. These times remind us of the transiency of life and sudden and unexpected reality of death. When things like earthquakes occur, we are reminded that life is like a vapor; it leaves quickly sometimes (James 4:14). We need to always be prepared to die.

5. We are also reminded of our constant dependence upon God. We often think we do not need God. Sometimes we hear people speak of other successful people as "self-made people." Well, this is not really true. No one is self-made. We are all dependent upon God, absolutely, completely, and undeniably, whether we know it or not.

6. We need to care about each other. When tragedies occur, like this earthquake, we are reminded of our responsibility to each other. We need to care for each other, pray for each other, and reach out to each other. Let us pray for the people of Haiti, pray for the workers in Haiti, pray for the gospel workers in Haiti, and pray for the nations who will try to help Haiti.

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