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ACTS OF GOD: A Correct Response

by Stephen Davey

Is there anything supernatural about natural disasters? In other words, is God behind the scene allowing tornadoes, rip currents, and viruses to devastate lives for no apparent reason?

Insurance companies call natural disasters “acts of God.” And they typically refuse to provide insurance to cover such events.

Had you been a neighbor of Job, you would have been asking some questions as you witnessed Job’s dreams turned into nightmares in one afternoon.

  • Is God involved in tragedies?
  • Is God really interested in what happens on this earth?
  • Is He powerful enough to control nature and disease?

People offer various explanations for the unexplainable acts of God.

In China and India alone, thousands have died from COVID-19. But in much of the Eastern world, people readily explain this in terms of karma, a spiritual law of cause and effect. The experiences you have in life today are considered the result of your actions in a previous life. Blindness, poverty, hunger, and sickness are punishments for evil things you did in a former life.

When Hurricane Katrina caused the deaths of well over a thousand people and more than $100 billion in damage, some Muslims said Allah was heaping vengeance on the United States for the war in Iraq. Some Christians claimed Katrina was divine judgment on New Orleans for the immoralities surrounding Mardi Gras. And a reporter in Israel said the United States suffered devastation because it agreed with the policy that forced Jewish settlers out of the Gaza strip.  

Whenever tragedy strikes, we naturally attempt to explain what God is trying to say or do. But we often serve as terrible spokespeople for God. We know God is sovereign and at work even in natural disasters, but we don’t have clear answers as to why He allows suffering in a particular way or at a particular place and time. And He doesn’t expect us to offer definitive answers to the world.

We don’t want to become like Job’s counselors, who misrepresented God’s plan. So, what do we say about these acts of God? What is it God wants to communicate to our world through a persistent virus or a natural disaster? How do we respond?

I believe God wants us to be ready to give an answer for the hope we personally have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). He wants us to respond by truthfully and lovingly presenting the gospel.

Someone said God whispers in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain. 

Natural disasters, suffering, and viruses without vaccines have a way of getting our undivided attention. Let your response to God’s shout begin with personally drawing near to the Lord and inviting others to join you in trusting His purposes (see Hosea 14:9).

Consider what God wants to communicate to your heart through events that seem out of control.

May the acts of God draw us closer to the heart of God!

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