In theory - Jon T. Karn

Recent disasters like Hurricane Ike, the earthquakes in China and Taiwan, and even the recent Metrolink accident can overwhelm people with emotions like fear, anger, frustration and even dread. What do the Scriptiures tell us of coping with the aftermath of these disasters, and how can we become better people as a result?

Job spoke for all of us when he said: “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”

When disaster strikes, we cry out to God, and then when the dust settles we ponder why God would allow such a thing.

In July, after the Chino Hills earthquake, my little daughter asked why God lets earthquakes happen. A great question! The earth is aging and just as we do, the earth experiences “growing pains.” Natural disasters as well as daily troubles are no surprise to God. Jesus himself said: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I’m glad God understands.

But more problematic is God’s unapologetic candor in Isaiah: “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, Yahweh, do all these things.”

How can a good God create disaster? It may be helpful to remember that ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, took their fateful “bite,” our planet remains cursed. Those who sit in judgment on the Bible reject the simple truths of Genesis, but those of us who take the Bible seriously understand that there are serious consequences to God’s curse. Disasters — natural and man-made — are part of his curse.

Someday, God’s curse will be overturned and natural disasters will be only a memory. Someday, earthquakes will be no more. Someday, King Jesus will reign over his peaceable kingdom. But until that day, we hold tight to his sobering yet encouraging words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


JON T. KARN is pastor of Light on the Corner Church in Montrose. Reach him at (818) 249-4806.

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