The question “Where is God?” can be daunting to answer in the midst of a natural disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, or fire. Society looks at these seemingly senseless, devastating events and often only sees hopelessness and fear. However, disastrous events tend to also awaken questions about faith, God, good and evil, the purpose of life, and the reality of death. In response, we as Christians have an opportunity to give hope and encouragement to those who are looking for the real God who loves and cares about His creation and the individual person.
Knowing the Character of God
What does the Bible say about how God sees a disaster, death, disease, or pain? Understanding His heart toward us is critical to effectively reassure others that God is real and interested in our day-to-day lives, including the bad stuff. Here are a few verses that point to God’s compassion towards the suffering of His people:
2 Kings 20:5 – “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears…”
Psalm 34:17-18 – “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 56:8 – “You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not recorded in Your book?”
Psalm 103:8 – “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”
Matthew 5:45 – “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Matthew 10:29 – “Are not two little sparrows sold for a copper coin? And yet not one of them falls to the group apart from your Father’s Will. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
God does not cause a natural disaster. He is a purposeful God, unlike the natural disasters that kill or harm people from all ages and backgrounds, whether they are His followers or not. The Old Testament confirms when God used natural forces, He protected the righteous (see the stories of Lot or Noah). In the New Testament, Jesus wept over the death of Mary’s brother and had compassion for the widow who lost her son, demonstrating His heart for the grief-stricken over death and sorrow.
What Should Our Response Be?
Share the hope of Jesus by actively engaging, interceding, and caring for people who may not be able to care for themselves. Physical, emotional, and spiritual support are examples of God’s compassionate nature and goodness to those in need. We care because He cares.
Be an ambassador. Pray for an open heart, full of compassion toward survivors of disasters.
Cry out to God the Father and intercede in your prayers on behalf of the brokenhearted and their communities – pray for comfort, peace, refuge, and hope. Pray they would draw closer to Jesus in this middle of their pain.
Volunteer your time, money, and resources, when possible, to relief efforts or reputable charity organizations that support providing aid.
Pray for the rescue workers and first responders, especially their safety. Pray for their families.
If someone asks you where God can be found during times of disaster, answer thoughtfully. Be genuine. Empathize with their pain and struggle. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your response. Remind the person what the Bible says about God’s character and how He feels about tragedy.
Where is God in times of trouble? If you are His follower, God lives in you. You are His hands and feet to share His love and comfort in a real and tangible way to provide for the needs of survivors. Go, be love. “We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19