“Who Sent the Earthquake and the Tsunami?”

“The eagle has landed!” Russel’s own words of joy. We praise God that Donna and the four boys have landed at Los Angeles International!

It was a joy to see Donna and her four boys off at NAIA at 4 am yesterday for their 8 am flight to Narita Airport, and then on to their connecting flight to LAX. Unbeknownst to us is the frightening experience they will go through in Japan. After touching down at NRT at 1 pm, they were probably at the boarding area waiting for their 4 pm flight when the earthquake struck at 2:46 pm. How amazing that of all the days and flights that they can choose from, they chose THAT day and THAT flight.

I was in contact with Russel on Facebook at about 2:30 pm yesterday and spoke to him briefly at about 5 pm to give him encouragement. I also sent a message to Paulo Vasquez who’s a student at Tokyo Christian University to see if he can get hold of Donna, but of course, it was impossible to get through on the phone.

What do we make of this as Christians? Frankly, the answer is: we don’t know. What we know is that God works everything for the good of his people. It might be a simplistic answer, but that’s the best we can do. It’s very difficult to comfort ourselves with God’s word (Psalm 46) and with prayers, but it’s all that’s available to us in times like this. We take comfort in “that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ [who] also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1).

After the Indonesian earthquake and the ensuing great tsunami in 2004, I wrote a paper for one of my seminary classes. It’s entitled “Who Sent the Earthquake and Tsunami?” which strives to answer questions about our holy and good God in relation to evil and suffering in this world. You can download the article here (click on the article title).

A blessed Lord’s Day to all!

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress
(Psalm 46:1-3, 7).

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