After seeing the images on TV, and perhaps experiencing the storm yourself, you wonder: “Why did this hurricane devastate the lives of so many people in New Jersey, New York City, and thousands of towns up and down the East Coast?” God’s people have asked such questions since the book of Genesis. We find Job pondering why bad things have happened to a righteous man. Others ask Jesus why some kinsmen were killed when a building fell upon them.
Natural disasters are part and parcel of our fallen world. In a perfect world, there would be no floods, tornados or tsunamis. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Rather, we live in a world that has been contorted and knocked off kilter by sin − our sin. God cursed the ground on account of Adam. Thorns and thistles will now grow and make our stewardship of the earth much more difficult. Paul talks about creation groaning under the weight of God’s curse.
So when we wonder why did God allow this hurricane to happen, we discover from Holy Scripture that natural disasters happen because we are sinful people who live in a world that has been cursed by God on account of our sins.
Does this mean God is punishing us for some unrepented sin? Is He punishing our nation for national sins that we, as a nation, are guilty of? Only insofar as we live on a world whose nature has been cursed by God as a result of our sinfulness. Hurricanes are just one way, among many, that this cursed earth unleashes because of the curse placed upon it.
Does this mean God is indifferent or uncaring? Certainly not! We should realize that God has protected us from any number of natural disasters throughout the years. When was the last time an asteroid slammed into the earth and extinguished 4 or 5 billion human beings? When was the last time the earth was soaked with flood waters so that only eight people survived? God watches over us and protects us many, many times.
It’s just this more recent incident when God seems to have taken a break from rescuing His creation. Or has He? Consider what God is doing in the aftermath of this hurricane. He is working through individuals, organizations and State governments to send help, money and supplies. God’s people are praying for the lives and rescue of those unaccounted.
God is working through men and women to help ease the awful suffering. God is showing His love for the world by working through the actions of the world to offer assistance.
You see, God can be found where there’s trouble. God is there with the nurse giving help to one injured in the hurricane. God is with the pilot who flies a cargo plane with needed supplies. God is with those who search for the unaccounted.
God is found in the midst of our greatest heartache and despair. Rather than seeing a hurricane as the angry and contorted face of God, we should instead look at the true God revealed in Christ. For when we see Christ contorted and suffering on the cross, we see God’s friendly heart, a heart so enamored with His people and His creation that He is willing to give up His only Son to redeem us from all our sins. And Paul tells us that God’s redemption in Christ will one day remove the curse imposed upon creation.
Christ our Lord intervened in a disaster hundreds of times worse than the recent Hurricane Sandy. Our Savior went to the cross, suffered and gave up His own life to save us from our sins. The Christ hanging on the cross reveals the heart of God and the great love He has for us. And when we realize how much God loves us and that Christ is where our greatest need is that needs fixing, then we realize that our Christian faith points the way to where Christ needs to be now: in boroughs and with people who have suffered greatly. And where Christ is, there we will be. Perhaps merely in spirit and prayers. Or in the sending of support. Or offering other help. Each time you give an encouraging word to your neighbors, bring them a cup of coffee, offer them some respite from the sufferings of the hurricane’s aftermath, the hands and words of Jesus are working and speaking through you. These are Divine words of love and support. God has given us an opportunity to do acts of charity and mercy for our neighbors, and for each other in the household of God. And reminding people that God loves us through Christ and that not even a hurricane can alter God’s good disposition upon us through Christ our Lord and Savior.