“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Have you had anyone ask you the following question? “If there is a loving God, how could He permit all the suffering that is caused by such things as the recent hurricanes, floods and forest fires?” You may have even entertained similar thoughts yourself.
We can never know the mind of God, but I propose to you that there are at least two reasons why God might permit such things, or similar disasters, to occur in life.
First of all, such events provide us with an opportunity to express our love for our fellow man. Our Heavenly Father loves all of his children very much. And He deeply desires to see that all of his children love and take care of one another. Consequently, in the face of these disasters, we are given an opportunity to do just that. We should be asking questions like: what is it that I can do to help; or how can I attend to your needs, or is there something that I can do to help protect you from further dangers?
Secondly, all of the natural disasters, sufferings and evils of our world are warnings. They serve to remind us that everything in this world is temporary. If we place all of our hopes and trusts in the things of this world, these tragedies remind us that nothing in this world is permanent. These disasters are a vivid warning that everything that we cling to on this earth can either be stolen, or blown away, or float away, or be consumed by fire. Nothing in this world is permanent. In time, everything on this earth will either change or disappear. The only enduring reality is God’s love and the eternal life that He promises to his faithful sons and daughters. Yes, our Heavenly Father wants to help us in our efforts to love and take care of one another, but He also deeply desires to see that all of His children love and trust Him for everything. We need to let God be God, and surrender to His will in our life, rather than playing God and following our own will. C. S. Lewis summarized this fact very well when he said, “Dying to self is the path to life.” (The Abolition of Man, page 81, by C. S. Lewis)
Each and every one of us has been given this precious gift of life to live lovingly. God gives us each other to help us to learn how to love. The love that God has for each and every one of His children is given without cost and with no strings attached. We are to live lovingly simply because our Heavenly Father loves us so much. That is our job in life; to live lovingly.
“The world tells us money matters, power matters, prestige matters – and we drive ourselves crazy trying to prove to one another that we’re successful enough, important enough, or powerful enough; yet in the end it’s relationship that truly matters. How ironic that in trying to prove we are worthy of love through accomplishments, we could miss accepting God’s love and sharing it with those around us – and in the end, that matters most for true success! – If we fail to love our family, our neighbors, our co-worker, and those in need whom God puts in our path, we’ve failed in the primary task God’s given us.” (Imagine Heaven by John Burke, pg 248)
This earthly life that we have been given is very fragile, and it can either change dramatically or end at any moment. We may never know or fully understand the mind of God, but by allowing His love and His will to guide us on our earthly journey, a paradise awaits us where love reigns supreme eternally.