Summary: When God says, “Be still and know,” he invites us to linger at the foot of the cross. God’s answer to your pain is not a sermon or a theory or a book you need to read. God’s answer to your pain is a Person. God’s answer is Jesus.
On March 11 one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history shook the north coast of Japan, resulting in a tsunami that swept as far as 10km inland. Thousands of buildings have been affected, and the death toll is estimated at over 10,000.
Who can forget the tsunami in 2004, one of the greatest displays of nature's wrath in modern history, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countriesthe The tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, triggered by an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia, sent giant killer waves from Sumatra to Somalia that wiped out whole communities and flattened beachside hotels.
Haiti shook not long ago under the wave of a powerful earthquake, devastation followed, the loss of life abounded, diseases broke out, and those living among the ruins would tell you they were experiencing hell, but honestly they were not. Chile shook soon afterwards and the same verdict could have been assumed.
A few weeks back New Zealand and now Japan have experienced the same horror, and those living through the horrible ordeal that we all view over the internet or on television could honestly say the same. After these all incidents a question came all over…. Did a loving God do that which we are viewing? Did a loving God cause all the pain and the suffering those people are going through?
Why has God sent so much pain to those people in Japan? It is the great, eternal question—the one we all ask sooner or later. Some will object to the form of the question. They will say that God did not “send” the earthquake. If you prefer to say that God “allowed” it, I think it comes out pretty much in the same place.
An earthquake is terrifying because we never think about the ground giving way beneath us. If a hurricane comes, we look for shelter, but what do you do when the ground itself begin to fall away? There is no place to hide.
And so I thought about it this way. What if in one sudden moment Gurnee, or Waukegan or Chicago ? What if a city that had been there in the morning was now gone, the buildings collapsed, and the entire population dead? What if that happened to South Bend or Charleston or Clearwater or Midland? Think about that. A city of more than thousand suddenly dead and gone. That’s what happened in Myanmar and China, Haiti, and Japan
No wonder THE WORLD wants to know what God was doing. It’s an honest question. Why has God sent so much pain to those people in Japan? I have been thinking about it myself. A number of answers might be given.
A. The disasters might be a sign of the Second Coming of Christ.
It has been more than a week since Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake and tsunami, and yet only now are religious celebrities beginning to come out of the woodwork to give a spiritual explanation for what occurred. Talking to Newsmax TV, Rev. Franklin Graham confirmed that, indeed, these recent natural disasters could signal the Second Coming of Jesus.
Opening with a quick recap of this century’s disasters– Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the tsunami in Indonesia– the host asked Graham just how worried the world should be that these are the end times. Graham replied that the signs are clearly there, that wars and famine and earthquakes are precisely what would indicate the end of the world. “It would be like labor pains,” he explained, “and as a woman gives birth to a child, those labor pains start intensifying with more frequency.” While he clarified that he didn’t know for sure if this was the end of the world, he saw a good argument for it.
For example, between 1986 and 1996 (incl), a period of 11 years, there were "just" 15 earthquakes listed by USGS of magnitude 7.0 or greater. This is not markedly different (albeit a slight decrease) from previous (similar periods) of 20th century, where an average of about 18 might be expected. But between 1997 and 2007 (incl), a period of only 11 years, there were 99 earthquakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater : This is more than a six-fold increase on the previous similar period - and is a stark increase on any earlier decades in 20th century too. The trends in nature here, particularly from 1997 support the wider realisation of prophesy about the "End Times", namely that an increase in earthquake activity is a pre-requisite for the "second coming of Jesus Christ" foretold in the bible. It does not indicate how close we are to this event, but suggests it is not too far away.
B. The disasters might be God’s judgment for particular sins.
Note that I said “particular sins.” The problem here is in explaining why the cyclone struck the Irrawaddy Delta and not the Bay of Bengal, or why the earthquake struck Japan and not Libya.