Sunday, February 27, 2011

God In The Midst Of Tragedy

On February 21st, disaster struck Christchurch, New Zealand in the form of a devastating earthquake. At a magnitude of 6.3, the earthquake has thrown the city into rescue mode with over a hundred dead and more missing. Nearly one third of the 3000 buildings that have been examined by a professional construction crew have been condemned and slated for destruction. The city itself has been quick to respond, restoring nearly 85% percent of standing homes with power and providing food, water and bathrooms for those who no longer are able to reside at home. However, a good portion of the population has been evacuated until the city regains a fraction of its once unquestioned stability.

The question, almost flippantly thrown out as a thought provoker in class, is whether God uses tragic events serve to bring us closer to him? As an avid Twitter user, I posted this question during the in-class discussion to see what my friends would have to think about the issue. Although the topic was short lived in class, those following me soon entered into a passionate debate about how disaster does not bring us closer to God. It merely makes us aware of God, they argued. It is through these circumstances that we are quicker to seek the hand of a creator and acknowledge his sovereignty in our lives. However, without exception, they believed that tragic events are a result of sin and not God using it expressly in our lives.

To this point I disagree. Cue a few days later when my twitter feed lit up with reports of “Praying for Christchurch”, “NZ in our prayers”, and “Sending love and prayers out to the people of NZ”. Although they were correct in stating that mankind’s sin has brought about tragedy, it is very clear that God has worked through this tragedy to bring people from all over the world together to pray for this city. These people are in the midst of a nightmare, fighting for their lives and their livelihoods, and God is working there. Today, a memorial service is being held within the Christchurch Cathedrals remaining tower to honor and remember those who died during the earthquake, and if nothing else, this great tragedy has made people who may have never stepped foot inside a religious building acknowledge the existence of God.

1 comment:

  1. I was discussing with a friend last week how there is so much disaster currently going on in the world right now. I have some distant family members living in Christchurch, and I actually got to visit there 3 years ago. Do I know God's design for disaster? No. Do I think some things happen to punish people of sin? Maybe. Do others happen out of "coincidence"? We are already in a sinful and broken world. Things aren't promised to run smoothly. Although we may not know why some things happen, that should not make a difference in how Christians respond. I know it is much easier to type this is in comfort than it is when I am the one in the middle of distress or disaster. We are to be a people of prayer and continually seek God's face. These are just wake-up calls that we need to be reminded of how dependent on the Lord we need to be.


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