There are many areas of our faith life where we live with tension. Through the years theologians have wrestled, debated, and argued as to where the balance is between God’s sovereign justice and His merciful compassion.
What exactly is an “Act of God”? Are all natural disasters acts of God? There are certainly verses in Job, Proverbs, Isaiah and elsewhere which would lead us to believe God is actively involved in weather patterns. We are also told the “rain falls on the just and the unjust” and that “all of creation is groaning.” Does God actively cause these disasters, or do we live in a fallen world which groans for a redeemer? Does He simply remove His protective hedge in these situations, as He did in Job? This is an issue where I’ve experienced tension in my faith life for years. I’m content not to be dogmatic as I see Scriptures support a view much bigger than I can wrap my mind around or ANY one perspective on the issue.
I am blessed to be surrounded by some AMAZING and Godly chaplains in Misawa. I (and many others through the past weeks – remember to pray for our chaplains) sat down and discussed this with three of them shortly after the quake/ tsunami in Japan. Where is God? Yes, he created the tectonic plates and how they move. But did God reach down and create the pain and suffering Japan is currently enduring? I’m not sure. I don’t see Scripture giving the cut and dried answer I would like. I CAN rest in His character. I CAN rest in His ability to bring great good from great chaos. I can trust that He has led me to this situation which wasn’t of my choosing. I can look for ways to glorify Him in the midst of the suffering.
Are there acts of God when a disaster like this occurs? Absolutely. We see acts of God when someone shelters a child who has suddenly become a homeless orphan, when food is shared, when people donate money or goods from around the world, when neighbors and Americans use their bare hands to dig through rubble in search of the living or the dead, when military spouses shop for hours and assemble home transition kits for those who have lost everything, when prayers are lifted around the world on behalf of revival in Japan.
Yes, God is here. We’ve seen His acts. We rest in His character. My prayer for each woman in Asia region is she learns to rest in His merciful embrace, in the midst of a dance she may not have chosen. Ah…dancing with God is a topic for another month.
*First shared at pwoc.org on Asia Region's page
Living all of life before the face of God...