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It is hurricane season and, of course, it is that time to wonder why we have natural disasters. No matter how many times I have convinced myself not to bother, each time a natural disaster occurs, I cannot but bother and wonder. These feelings are compounded when we add the fact that some innocent folks get cut down senselessly by some deranged folks through mass shootings in the United States and folks in South Africa being killed by some miscreants because they are foreigners. This year, especially, there have just been too many of these mass shootings. It even gets worse when the shootings in the United States and the killings in South Africa are fueled by racism and xenophobia, things that are contrary to Christian moral ideals. Also, during this past week there was news about some scuba divers who were all burnt to death in a freak boat fire. I looked at the havoc wrecked by Hurricane Dorian and I am like, “God, where are you?”
I have never experienced a hurricane, neither have I been remotely close to a place where mass shooting occurs. However, I have been in a place where some fanatical Moslems in Nigeria (Maitatsine group) decided to wipe out every Kafir (infidel) they laid their eyes on. My house was less than two miles from where they were operating and that was scary. If what I experienced that time can be a yardstick, it is palpable fear that gives rise to a lot of questions in one’s mind. Why is this happening. By the way, what created natural disasters? Why do people kill others in the name of God? Does God have a hand in this? If He does, to what end? My Yoruba folks will always call these things “amuwa Olorun” meaning it is something God brings. Many other Christians also believe that when things like these happen, God must have brought it. Is God involved in disasters? Is God involved in targeted killings? It is easy to explain that those who engaged in mass killings and targeted killings due to racism or xenophobia are under the influence of Satan, but how about the victims? Some folks believe the victims or their progenitors must have done something wrong, but I want to let you know that God is not a sadist deity that derives joy in sending disasters upon His people for some disobedience; rather, our God is a God who rises and meets us even in the midst of life’s disasters.
In Isaiah 45:5-7, this is what the Lord said to King Cyrus, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” So, one can infer from this passage that God has some involvement somehow. At least He created the natural disasters. This translation does not say He brings the disasters, but He created them. I am not sure however, how it helps my walk with God if I know the extent of God’s involvement in natural or even man-made disasters. God is sovereign and He can do as He pleases. No one can understand God. He is the one that sees the end from the beginning. He understands the whys of every disaster, natural and man-made. Because God has made us to always yearn for Him, it is normal for us to look for God everywhere including in disasters, but only God has the answers. All we need to do as children of God is to submit to Him and serve Him wholeheartedly.
One sure thing is that God created the world and everything therein. This includes natural disasters and all the pains that accompany them. But what activates them? I don’t know and I am not sure I care. Why? Because God is sovereign, He can do as He pleases, so it does not matter what I know or do not know. I cannot fully understand anyway. Remember God’s answer to Job in Job 38:4, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” It is enough for me to know that I am a player in His plan in the world and I am ready to play my roles whenever the Lord calls, even if that role happens to be within a natural disaster, so be it. His sovereign will shall always prevail! – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya