Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now.
Seeing the utter devastation of earthquakes and tsunamis with so many lives lost and communities destroyed, we all grieve; hearts break. Pictures are sent around the world informing us of ongoing global disasters, leaving us lost for words. What can be said in these times when it seems like just after one disaster strikes a nation, a week or two later another happens? Can’t people just get a break? Even if the T.V channel is changed and we can temporarily distract ourselves with ‘something happier’, the sometimes quiet questions we may not voice, linger in the mind. ‘How can God let such things happen? ‘Where is He? Can He not see their suffering, my suffering??
We see the pain and death and feel a valid sense of injustice and degree of anger about it all. God knows we will ask such questions and answers us in the Bible from the very beginning. The Bible even shows that two of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha both had an outburst of anger directly to Him, at the apparent injustice of the death of their brother, Lazarus. They asked Him the same question, saying, ‘If you were here, if you intervened to stop it, it would not have happened.’ They were in pain, Jesus understood and cried.
John 11: 1-3
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. So the sisters [Mary and Martha] sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
17On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
[Martha] called her sister Mary aside. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus cried because death was never meant to be, it was never meant for mankind.1 It made Him so sad that he didn’t just cry he wept. He understood their pain and their anger towards Him and did not get upset at them for feeling so.
At the very beginning of creation, the world was perfect. The earth was not groaning, it was uncursed and the very first man and woman, Adam and Eve, lived without any lack or suffering. God did not have to build them an earthquake and tsunami proof house in the Garden of Eden as death did not exist. It was the way God wanted it, perfect, just the way we long for it be as well.
God gave Adam and Eve everything their hearts desired, including free choice. The free choice to love Him and believe in Him by providing one single alternative choice that God said was good, but not good for man.1 The alternative choice was a knowledge that would give man the ability to know what is evil and what is good, a form of the law. God said that because of it man would certainly die. (Genesis 2:17)
Right then and there after Adam and Eve exercised their free choice and chose this knowledge which would bring death to man and pain to the earth, God intervened with a plan. (Genesis 3:15, Romans 5:12) The plan would still respect man’s decision to choose Him or not and allow Him to be able to provide for, save and bring comfort to people.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
God says in His Word that despite what we may see in the world to make us question whether He is with us or not, He is.
Psalm 46: 1-3
God is our refugeand strength,
A very present help in trouble/time of need
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shakewith its swelling.
God knows that because of the choice man made, we will have times of trouble and need and He says that at anytime, we can call on Him. We can call on Him evenwith a groan, when no words or only one can be whispered, ‘Help…’ He hears us and promises to be our refuge and help.
Exodus 2: 23-24
..and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning…
When we don’t know what to pray, don’t understand what is going on, God says He is with us; even in the depths of despair and pain He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
1 Why are their calamities in this world if God is love? Pastor Joseph Prince. 2010