When our world seems to be full of woe and great catastrophe's abound we can wonder, where is God in all this? Some will say that it is God's punishment on a people that have strayed from the path of righteousness. Others will opine that it is the end of the world and go on long lamentations on everyone else's sins but not there own!
None can speak for God we may never know the reasons behind many catastrophes, but neither can we place everything at the door of a fickle Mother Nature who places no one above her tempestuous reach. When we build hotels, shops and homes on the shores of our native land should we be shocked that an earthquake may turn the water into a tsunami which then destroys all in its path. Is it the fault of Mother Nature when many build high-rises and other monumental buildings on land that is known for its many earthquakes, then when the ground shakes down fall the buildings as many are crushed beneath them? Do we blame God or Mother Nature when we are warned that a catastrophic hurricane is heading in our direction yet the levies that were built to protect the land from flooding can only hold a category three, where as the predicted storm is a category five, is that God's fault? If we build our homes below an active volcano do we blame God when it convulses back to life with devastating results? Is this not the thinking of little children to point the finger at everyone else but never look beyond to our inability to take Mother Nature seriously.
Yet we cannot deny the truth that God is in control of all, including Mother Nature. God shows this through His Word, when He flooded the earth because of man's iniquities and lack of repentance. Once again God through Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and by parting the Red Sea, the Israelites made it to safety whilst the Egyptians who had pursued them drowned. We also see through the Miracles of Jesus when He calmed the stormy sea which had terrified the disciples, healed the sick and lame and brought the dead back to life, that God is all Powerful.
Yet in our history have there not always been catastrophes where whole empires were overthrown as if overnight. Where lands were flooded beyond recovery and volcanoes killed in an instant all that were trapped in its path. But unlike ages past, these days we have access to multi media so when one land is hit with a catastrophe the world learns of this with a flick of a TV switch. Catastrophes are not new, but we are always stunned by them when they happen, how can they not happen when we build our homes both temporal and spiritual on shifting sands?
What should we think when these terrible tragedies occur? Let us look to some of our Saints as they too pondered the meaning of catastrophes and tragedies, as St. Augustine said, "Since nations as such do not pass to eternal life, they are rewarded or chastised in this life for the good or evil they practice; good and bad alike feel the effects of both reward and chastisement. As for the good, the chastisement purifies their love of God, and may even take them from the tribulations of this life to the eternally happy life of Heaven; "Job’s case exemplifies that the human spirit may be proved, and that it may be manifested with what fortitude of pious trust, and with how unmercenary a love, it cleaves to God."
Perhaps we need to look at natural catastrophes in a different eye in that maybe we are being challenged to love more than we do, and to give not from our bounty but from our inner core. When catastrophes happen do we count out our pennies to help the victims recover while we keep our dollars so as not to be deprived of our own luxuries that we have grown accustomed too? Maybe this is a lesson for those better off to help others with their hearts and not only their wallets. Do we really give till it pains us? Till we and our families feel the pinch? Or do we spare what we don’t want, is that truly compassionate giving?
Are we a loving and compassionate people? Do we take the example shown by our Lord and Saviour seriously or do we give mere lip service when we hear the cries of the downcast and broken hearted? Could we follow in the steps of our Lord who though sinless paid for our iniquities in atonement for the many grievous sins done against Him? As St. Thomas Aquinas says, "Justice and mercy appear in the punishment of the just in this world, since by afflictions lesser faults are cleansed in them, and they are the more raised up from earthly affections to God." As the Word reminds us, the rain shall fall on the good and the evil in equal measure. Saint Gregory also said, ‘The evils that press on us in this world force us to go to God.’
Could this be a call from God to return to Him and give to God what is due to Him, our unfaltering love and gratitude not for what our Heavenly Father can give us but because of who He is, for God is Goodness itself. Or are there too many Esau’s in the world who are prepared to sell out their Salvation so they may enjoy the superficialities of life, rather than the treasure which God holds in store for His beloved children.
When catastrophes occur we need not wonder where is Christ, for He is in the ruins with his afflicted children. The challenge is, where are you when the weak and the weary face us not with their poverty.....but with ours?
Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.