Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?” I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:1-4)
You would think after reading these two sections of scripture that this topic would be settled and we could say with confidence that "No, the earthquakes in Nepal are not a result of God's anger of judgement on the people of Nepal." But as we live in the era of the internet, every wacko with access to a descent wifi connection has a voice and with that voice comes an agenda. What is worse than having an over-inflated fatalistic perspective of God's actions on the world (that every detail that happens is directly or indirectly caused by God) is when those same people use that idea to perpetuate their own agenda and that such events are simply a judgment of God because the people affected were not following the version of truth that they deemed true.
Consider the quote in this picture. Though the reasoning is so obviously flawed, we see a sadly similar idea daily on TV talk shows, blogs, podcasts and the TV evangelists with an axe to grind. There are too many examples to count and the reasoning seems to get even more ridiculous every week.
Consider the words and conversation my colleague, Martin Trench, had recently:
"Daddy why did that earthquake happen?" , "Because your sister's dress is too short!" - boy oh boy.
I had this exchange yesterday with someone:
**** "Nepal had bad earthquake a lot of people died...so could it be that God planned that so He wants people to come back to Him?"
"No God didn't plan it. Earthquakes happen in certain areas whether there is anyone there or not. We just happen to build cities right on top of earthquake zones. It's just a natural disaster."
***** "my mentor told me that she saw so many bad things in world...and she believe that it could be God's plan because He wants people to come to Him and repent"
"That would make God a sadistic murderer of innocent people, in my opinion. Humans build cities in earthquake zones, in tornado areas, and at the foot of volcanoes, then when a disaster happens they think God did it. Those things were happening in those areas long before people lived there. Its simply a natural disaster."
and on and on and on....
Even when the idea of such acts are being spun as 'God showing His love by drawing people back', it is probably warped at best. At worst, we are attempting to presume to intimately know the will of God in any of these things, be it rain on a wedding day, the droughts in the states or earthquakes in Nepal. How could we be so confident, so arrogant, to even begin to assume such things.
Now, don't get me wrong, the hardship of this world and the trials we face, on a daily basis or in the magnitude of an earthquake, can cause us to see our mortality and bring us to a realization of our need for hope and salvation from the state that we are in. God is a master of spinning the ugly of this world and turning it into good, but to emphatically know the will of God and without doubt acclaim God caused it, is totally another thing.
WHAT CAN WE DO, HOW CAN WE HELP, HOW CAN WE BE A LIGHT AND HOW CAN WE BE AMBASSADORS OF LOVE, HOPE AND GRACE IN THIS SITUATION?
I wonder though, is it possible that one of the main issues we see in all this is the obsession with drawing lines against those who disagree with us or look different than us? When we are affected by tragedy on a global scale, we look for a reasoning, someone to blame, a scapegoat to crucify and drag into the light to explain why such a thing could happen. It becomes the actions of others and their failed belief/system that is bringing the world down.
When we give into such reasoning, we miss the whole purpose of the verses above. Instead of loving our enemies we wish to blame them, hang them out to dry, shift blame away from ourselves, denying all responsibility for our own actions, drawing lines of 'us verses them' and miss the whole idea of God's redemptive and reconciling plan of His Kingdom moving forward in this world. It reeks of the Law and the Old Covenant which the author of Hebrews makes crystal clear cannot bring the salvation people wish to see and has ultimately passed away for something better (Hebrews 8).
Let me plead with us all to stop! Stop attempting to explain the aftermath of a fallen world through existential reasoning, stop looking for someone to sacrifice on the altar of blame, stop looking for excuses to exclude, divide and hate. Maybe, just maybe, instead of us sitting on the sidelines accusing and debating the question of why God would 'cause' something like this, we would be a people of love asking "What can we do? How can we help? How can we be a light and how can we be ambassadors of love, hope and grace in this situation?" Let us be a people of radical love, hope and grace--a people that are led by the example of Christ:
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL
Privacy: We hate spam as much as you, so we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOGS RSS FEED
AND GET ARTICLE UPDATES