Sitting before my computer, I watched on March 11th as the devastation occured in Japan and my first thoughts settled on the victims. The earthquake, the tsunami, and now the nuclear crisis, it overwhelmed me. I mentally placed myself in their shoes, as best I could. Tears rolled down my face at the thought of such dramatic occurances happening one after another on this Asian island which I’ve never even visited. I felt small in comparison to the strength of the earth shaking and the waves rolling onto the shoreline. Video after video expose our human frailties compared with the might of our planet. I thought, “Why God?”
It reminds me of many conversations I’ve had with friends of mine who disagree with me spiritually. They’ve made comments like, “I don’t believe in an angry God who could create such distruction.” Others have said, “If God exists why would He let people suffer?”
Over the past few days, as I embraced a feeling of sorrow for Japan and its people, I also started viewing this crisis from a different angle. I began thinking about which requires more effort and power, creation or destruction.
My husband builds models for a living. His miniature creations have been seen by people all over the world in movies, commercials, and print advertisement. I’ve listened to him share over the course of several days, weeks, or months the process taken for constructing amazing details within the models. I’ve also heard him share the process of destroying his creations. Some projects, once finished, are no longer necessary to keep in tact. In spite of the long hours poured into a miniature, he can level one of his models in moments.
God’s true strength
When we look at this Japanese trifecta of extraordinary proportions, we can see it as a revelation of God’s destructive power. Or, it can open our eyes the the magnitude of His creative energy and passionate love poored out upon humanity daily. For God, those short moments of earthen movement occupy only a small portion of His capacity. We sit in the blessing of his efforts daily without recognizing the magnitude of power behind each tree, bird, flower, or grain of sand. It’s more subtle, but no less ominous.
What the Bible says
The Bible starts with a simple, if innoccuous statement, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) So much depth in so little a sentence. We’re talking about all planets, all stars, every piece of dirt, each plant, and every animal owes its beginning to God’s creative power.
This same God, still extends His love and compassion upon the people of Japan, in the midst of their trials. Some people think that if bad things happen, then God must not care. The Bible exposes how God’s love can remain with us, in spite of horrible circumstances. David (you know of David and Goliath), was hunted and chased by an entire army. He shared his feelings during this trial of his life in Psalm 40, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
Scripture shares the struggles of many people and exposes God’s presence in their lives throughout it all, including: the Israelites versus just about everyone, Jesus beatings and crucifixion, and the arrest and torture of those who follow Christ. God never promised an easy path, but He did offer strength, courage, peace and much more as we face life’s difficulties.
Jesus shared this encouragement with his followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
A God capable of that much power is certainly able to offer that much encouragement. He knows what He’s saying and He means it.