Summary: How does a Christian respond to the invariable question that is asked when natural disasters occur and hundreds of thousands are killed?

Tsunami Tragedy

Can’t let the terrible tragedy of this past week go by without spending some time on it

• The question I want to ask today is one that invariably comes up when disasters like the Tsunami occur and that is, “This proves there isn’t a God or else He is a harsh vindictive God only interested in punishing us”

• “How would attempt to answer this question raised by an agnostic, an atheist or unbeliever?” Anyone want to have a go?

• This is a very real question by the way and it could come up, and we need to be ready to give an answer of the hope that lies within us

I have put together a possible response. It is by no means the last word on the subject but it helps prepare us to be in a position to respond

1. The first thing we need to acknowledge is we are not God

• This side of the resurrection, some things will remain a mystery to us. However this does not mean there is not a valid explanation

• So we should make it clear that we do not speak for God

• Even WWJD is quite a presumption

• We need to be careful we don’t come across as smug, detached, with special esoteric knowledge

• Christians need to be and be seen to be compassionate, caring, concerned and generous

• We should be first in line to give what aid we can in the way of prayers, and our resources

2. The second thing we need to acknowledge is that despite how things may look God’s love for mankind is not in question. So there must be another explanation

• God has already demonstrated how much He loves us 2000 years ago by giving us the gift of his Son to die for us

• So God’s love for mankind is not in question

3. Challenge the fairness of their question? Is it fair to blame God for what happened?

• There is something about us as humans that desperately want to attribute blame to others especially when things are out of our control

• But when was the last time we rushed to attribute credit to God for the good things that have happened in our lives

• It seems we humans are happy to blame God for the tragedies that happen in life yet we never give Him credit for the good things that happen in life?

• A wise woman once said, “The sorrows are balanced out by the joys”

• in other words we take the joys for granted, but want to attribute blame to someone for the sorrows

• we humans complain when we get sick for a few days a year, but never give a second though to the 360 other days of the year that we wake up feeling well

• How many hundreds of thousands over the years have enjoyed the oceans and beaches of Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia and what it has provided for them

• And while they are happily blaming God for the hundreds of thousands that have died in the tsunami disaster we need to remind them of the hundreds of millions that have died over the last century not from natural causes, but from man’s inhumanity to one another (40 million alone died in the Soviet Union during WW2

• We have so much blood on our own hands, we should be the last to attribute blame

4. Explain to them there is a Christian context through which we can view these tragedies which you will be happy to explain to them

• What is this context?

• (A good outline to help us remember what to say is the story of the Prodigal son as it is really the story of God’s dealing with mankind)

• This world we live in today is not the world God intended

• He did not intend for anyone to die …period.

• He did not intend for huge tsunamis to race across the Indian Ocean to devastate the lives of thousands

• He did not intend for His creation to take up arms against each other with the increasing capability of killing more of his fellow man as is now happening in Iraq

• When God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden He wanted them to be His children

• there was no death, there was no disease, there was no killing

• Like a loving parent God instructed Adam and Eve on how they were to live their lives

• (I’m sure the Father in the Prodigal story did the same thing)

• However in the process He didn’t take away their freedom to choose how they were to respond to that instruction

• He wanted them to respond of their own accord so it would be from love, not coercion

• And as most of us who are parents have found out, freedom can lead to wrong choices

• Most kids think they know better, they ignore their parent’s advice and go off and do their own thing with the ensuing consequences

• Adam and Eve were no different. They ignored God’s advice

• (The son in the story of the Prodigal did the same thing)

• So God honored their choice and allowed them to build a world of their world making

• And so today we live in a world of our own making, a world that openly mocks and rejects God, yet won’t fess up to its own responsibility in the matter

• A world that only seem to want God around to stop us from being harmed. The rest of the time we want Him to butt out of our lives

• But because God loves us, and He is still our parent, he has provided a way whereby our relationship with Him can be restored

• And that way is through Jesus Christ

• Right now God is in the process of restoring humanity to His original intention

• And He is using the tragedies of both man and nature to help convince us sin does not work

• The whole creation, not just man is under a curse that’s why we have earthquakes, tsunami’s, droughts etc

• So the whole world is experiences the consequences of a world without God

• (The hardship and troubles of life brought the son to “himself”)

• However, some day when these people are resurrected and are asked the question by the righteous Judge Jesus Christ (Who is also our Savior) , “After experiencing living in a world dominated by sin, death and destruction, how would you like to live in a world dominated by love, peace and eternal life where there are no tsunamis, earthquakes, sin, sorrow, wars or death anymore”

• (The father of the prodigal hanging over the fence waiting for the son to return with the symbols of sonship, ring, sandals and a coat despite how he had treated His father)

• And I would assume 99% of them will respond in the affirmative

• As C S Lewis said, “Heaven will be populated by forgiven sinners and hell will be populated by forgiven sinners.” The only difference is the sinners in hell reject the gift offered to them

• And we finish the story by telling them they don’t have to wait till then to make the transition. It is available right now. All one has to do is accept the free gift Jesus Christ is offering to you right now and you can become part of the new creation now

• Sound like a good proposition to you?