Why would God allow natural disasters? Whether you’re a Christian or not, I think we’ve all wondered about this question . . . at least once in our lives. Unfortunately, some have concluded that an all-loving and all-powerful God would not allow such things to happen, and therefore cannot exist. But is this conclusion reasonable? How could anyone ￼know that God doesn’t have good reasons for allowing the things He does? I mean, after all, God is all-knowing; wouldn’t He know what’s best everyone?
Now I know this can be an emotional issue for a lot of people, and in that case, it’s probably best not to explain it. So, it is only my purpose here to address the intellectual side of the issue, so let’s take a look.
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).
God wants it to be abundantly clear that He is in control of everything; He is sovereign, and has a purpose for all that comes to pass, whether it is perceived by us as good or bad.
The Bible is clear that God is good. Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
So God is morally perfect. That is to say, He has morally sufficient reasons for allowing all things, including evil things.
I’m reminded of the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery and God allowed it. The text tells us in Genesis 50:20, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
When we think of natural disasters and other tragedies, we generally don’t see such events being done for purposes of good, but they often are, I think.
A few years back, I remember massive flooding happening in Texas, where Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse responded with disaster relief. I remember watching it on the news for several days, watching how people were constantly having to be rescued by boat. I thought to myself how terrible that must have been for them, until I heard Franklin Graham talk about it sometime later. Graham said that 100s of people, in the midst of this tragedy were being saved and coming to Christ. That doesn’t surprise me at all.
C. S. Lewis once remarked, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
When you think about all the terrible things that happen around the world, only in the western world, where we enjoy the greatest pleasures, do we blame God for the terrible things that happen. When you look at the countries that suffer the most, say, in the eastern part of the world, they tend to be some of the most religious. Despite their pain, despite their suffering, they continue to call out to God in praise and thanksgiving, and truly believe that God is good to them.
As a Christian, I am convinced that God purposes all things to bring people closer to Him, if not save them through death even. I know it’s hard to imagine, but God will often use tragedies to get our attention, or the attention of those around us. Sometimes we need help realizing that there does exist something greater than ourselves. I’ve known countless people who have come to Christ through difficulty, and perhaps never would have, had it not been for that difficulty. The truth is that sometimes our comfortable lives can hinder us from focusing on what truly matters, and nothing matters more than an everlasting relationship with the creator of the universe.