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Where Is God When Waves of Devastation Crash In?
Copyright © 2005 - All rights retained by author
Written by: C. W. Booth

Where is God when two hundred thousand souls perish in mere minutes from the oceanís waves propelled at 400 miles per hour by a single offshore earthquake? As people, as beings who bleed, feel pain, and have emotional attachments to our families and friends, we cannot help but find the tsunami in Asia heart rending.

We sympathize and empathize with those who have suffered loss. Just as we sympathized and felt anguish when Muslim terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers killing thousands of ordinary office workers. Just as we grieved when so many lost their lives during the summer heat wave in France. Just as we shed tears for the 300 Russian school children and their parents killed along with 500 more of their classmates wounded by the Muslim terrorists late in 2004. Even now, as the world rushes to bring financial aid, emergency supplies, and humanitarian relief to the victims of the tsunami in Asia, where is God? Where is He when so many die and with so many suffering?

God is where He has always been, and always will be. God is ruling from His throne, but this time He is grieving. Yes, grieving, with us and for us.

"For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:32a )

"I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezekiel 33:11a )

God does not grieve because He is surprised by the waves and feels a sense of helpless loss. God grieves because He was the one who had to design and orchestrate the calamity, and He grieves because we refuse to accept and respond to the reasons why He had to inflict this adversity upon humankind.

The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. (Isaiah 45:7)

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth? (Lamentations 3:38)

Why does God send us ill and calamity? He tells us, He wants us to know. He wants us to respond. He takes no pleasure in sending us deadly catastrophe.

It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)

Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. (Psalm 119:67)

Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider-- God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him. (Ecclesiastes 7:13,14)

"Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live." Ezekiel 18:31,32

"Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' Ezekiel 33:11

Death, and the tumultuous situations that often accompany it, are planned and implemented by a loving and merciful God. We know that death entered the world when Adam sinned, just as God promised it would.

Death is a product of sin, and calamity is used as a tool by God to call people back to Himself. It is a tool to which we cannot help but give our full attention.

"Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live." Ezekiel 18:31,32

God is pleading with mankind, with all humanity, to repent, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!"

Those who perished in Asia were no more deserving of death than those who died in New York, and those in New York no more deserving of death than those of us who survived (Luke 13:1-5). The only difference between the living and the dead is that our judgment has been delayed by the mercy of God to give us additional time to repent. Those who have died were not more sinful, but they did run out of time.

What does God require of us? That we turn from our wicked ways, believe on His Son, and respond to God's offer by calling out to Him in prayer. Is this so hard a thing for men to do in exchange for life? For the majority, it seems so. Yet, for a handful that heed God's warning and view it as a kindness, and who accept His merciful offer, the very angels in heaven are rejoicing.

"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

"In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:7,10)

Where is God during all this devastation? As the Father grieves (Isaiah 54:6, Ezekiel 18:32), as the Son grieves (Isaiah 53:3,4, Matthew 23:37, 26:38), as the Spirit grieves (Isaiah 63:10, Ephesians 4:30), yes, even as He grieves He is issuing a call of mercy and love, inviting men to leave death behind forever. Who out there is wise enough to listen?



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