John Mark Reynolds, 2005.
As is usual at such a time, philosophers get asked, “Where is God?” during the hurricane. Of course most people asking these questions are hurting. Seemingly random and terrible things have happened to them and they want to know why. They are not usually looking for philosophy. My comments are not to convince an atheist looking to score cheap points at the wrong time. I would not persuade, but speak hope. God is present even in the hurricane.
When I am hurting, two things help me. First, I want someone to understand that things are hard for me at the moment. If you are now in the storm, you do not need an argument, but knowledge that the God who became incarnate understands pain. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, does not know pain from the outside. As a result, we have a God who does not act for our good in a cold and calculating way. God minimizes pain at every turn, because He knows the painfulness of pain! He allows nothing that is not for our best and is with us in every circumstance. If God does not “intervene,” it must be better so.
Second, I want to hear from fellow Christians that they know a bad situation is really bad. Some terrible things are happening that are a result of the broken state of the world. In God’s perfect, good creation, destruction did not fall on humanity in this manner. Suffering and death were unknown before human sin. Just as a doctor may have to allow some suffering in order to cure a person, so God in our present state must allow suffering in order to bring the cosmos to full healing.
This life is a painful operation by God to heal mankind and the world. God does not rejoice in our suffering except that it brings us closer to the day when suffering will cease. God is ever in control and sovereign. Nothing takes Him by surprise. The cure of the world will be total and pain will end.