May 05, 2015
Where is God in Tragedy of Nepal?
Post by Kendall Lankford
What a tragedy!
I cannot imagine what it would be like to NOT know where my children are. To have pictures of the worst possible outcomes flashing through my mind as I fearfully searched for them in the rubble. Straining my ears to hear their familiar voices screaming: "Daddy!!!". . . "Help!!!" To muster the courage and hope to continue searching, while seeing countless other parents screaming and wailing beside the children that they found dead. I cannot imagine! Nor, would I want to!
Yet, even while I have no ability to conceptualize this kind of fear, thousands of people are living that very nightmare in Nepal right now! Waking up with the stinging pain that kept them from falling asleep the night before, and will follow them for years to come. And, in the midst of this great tragedy, the one question everyone is asking is: Where was God in the midst of all of this chaos?
A Nepali congregation gathers outside after the earthquake to give thanks in all circumstances.
If you're an atheist, this might be one of those times where you would wag your finger at the Christian, saying: "What kind of a God would allow this to happen?" "What kind of a God is this, that had the power to stop it, but didn't? You may even take this moment to proclaim your charge that "Surely there is no God!"
But, instead of taking this opportunity to avenge your deep-seated anger with Him, why don't you instead try offering hope to the victims? Tell them the truth, as you see it, that natural selection determined they were not fit enough to make it. Tell them that blind, natural, evolutionary forces govern this world and that they are the victim of hopeless chance! Tell mothers and fathers that they will never see their children again, because there is nothing beyond this life. You should try inspiring them, with the hope that there is no God!
What a foolish and insensitive worldview!
But, if you are a Christian, you can have hope! Not because you have all the answers to the problem of suffering, because you have the most important answer of all! That God really does exist! That He really cares about what happens in this world! And whether we understand everything in full or in part, we know that God is working in the midst of this situation and that He IS going to bring ALL things TOGETHER for His GLORY.
What does that mean?
Bringing all things together again, presupposes that things are not currently as "together" as they should be. It tells us that God is interested in putting the pieces back together again; not just in Nepal, but all over this world. That He is going to restore what was broken and split apart, when sin entered into this world!
For instance, notice that in Romans 8:20-22 it says:
20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For, we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Likewise, it says in Matthew 24:7-8
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
There is hope in the labor
What both of these verses tell us, is that creation is suffering under the weight of sin and death. But even more poignant than that, it is suffering as a woman in labor. Now, before we miss the point, this should give us a clue as to what God has in store for creation. Let me explain.
When creation fell in the Garden of Eden, the world, more or less, became pregnant with sin and death. At first, it may have been unnoticeable. But, as sin and death increased, it became impossible to hide it any longer! Sin eventually became so full and pervasive, that it could no longer stay inside the world's growing womb. It was at that point that, like a pregnant woman, the earth's water broke; washing the world with the cascading waters of its dreadful pregnancy. Yet, it was also in the flood, that we see the promise that the end was finally beginning! What do I mean?
Later, Jesus told us, that the very same earth, whose water had broken, is now the planet entering into its labor pains! And what are those pains? Jesus compared the famines and earthquakes, which were happening across the earth, to a woman's womb that contracted in the pain of labor!
To say this a different way, what Jesus was saying was that in the same way a woman's womb shakes and trembles under the weight of its growing contractions, so too this earth trembles and shakes under the weight of sin and death. And just like a woman who is in labor, the shaking will only grow stronger and more intense the longer it continues!
But, therein lies the hope! For as the labor intensifies, we know that the end is drawing near. We know that a moment is coming, when all the suffering and pain will melt away in the glow of a successful delivery.
See, by comparing the earth to a woman in labor, God is promising a resolution. He is promising a new birth for this plagued world. He is promising a day when nothing like this will ever happen again. He is promising a peace, far greater, than a woman feels when holding her child for the very first time!
What do we do in the meantime?
Photo credit by Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada (License)
Currently, we are suffering in a world that aches and longs to be redeemed! A world that is deep into its labor pains (Matt 24:8). A world that looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from sin and death (Romans 8:21).
If you are a child of God, then you are currently experiencing the same freedom that this earth is longing for! You have been freed from the very sin and death, which plagues this planet! So, if you are a child of God, you have not been freed to sit idly by! God has not given you grace, so that you can live gracelessly. No. You have been delivered to make a difference in this world! You have been changed back into the image of God through Christ, so that you can begin acting like Christ in a broken world.
Right now, people are suffering in Nepal, and it is our responsibility to help. Some may be called to go there and offer assistance, some to give generously, but all of us have been called to do something, even if that is just praying our hearts out for those poor suffering people! I can tell you one thing, NONE OF US HAVE BEEN CALLED TO DO NOTHING!
With that said, please visit www.christianaid.org/Nepal to offer help.
Republished with permission from Kendall Lankford and Between2Cities. https://between2citiesblog.wordpress.com/
Where is God in world crisis? This is the theme of the spring issue of Christian Aid Magazine. Get your free copy with a gift to Nepal earthquake victims.