We are a couple of weeks beyond the initial tragedy in Japan from the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear issues (which are still ongoing), but that means that multiple stories about “why did this happen?” are everywhere now. FoxNews reported a poll that shows that nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe that natural disasters are a “sign from God.” Of course, the poll revealed a sort of disconnect in those surveyed:
A slight majority — 51 percent — disagreed natural disasters are a sign from the Almighty. Yet a slightly larger majority, 56 percent, said they believe God is in control of everything that happens in the world.
The fact of that matter is that some disasters may be a sign from God, but some are undoubtedly simply the result of a world damaged by the fall. Debating God’s control or lack thereof is a non-starter in any case. The Bible has plenty to say about God’s sovereignty, but definitive answers it does not give (or else there would be no debate about it). As believers we know that God is good and we trust Him in those areas that we can’t see or know definitively. I am getting ready to read and review a book by Randy Alcorn called, The Goodness of God, so I will have more to say on that later.
It seems that it is another part of human nature to automatically look beyond ourselves in events like this however. As another Fox writer pointed out, the emperor of Japan even attributed the disaster to “heavenly punishment.” This wasn’t a Pat Robertson moment, it was a very natural response. All of us have an inborn reflex toward God and an ability to see Him because of His Creation (Romans 1:20).
Tragedy and difficulty have a way of causing us to cut through the clutter of life and other things that distract us from what we instinctively know. There is a God and it is not us. We think this way because of how we are made. It is only natural.