Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nature's Pain

It has been a bad month for our planet:
• Cyclone Nargis struck Burma in Southeast Asia and has claimed 32,000 lives, with an additional 30,000 missing and perhaps as many as one million homeless.
• An earthquake struck south-west China and killed more than 12 000 people (some guess up to 50 000), leaving many others trapped in the rubble. People are living out in the open without shelter and food.

And we are tempted to say: “but where was God?” or “Why did God allow this to happen?” As if there are easy, simple answers!

The scientists tell us that earthquakes, and storms are occurring all the time at sea, but they only occasionally emerge from the sea onto the land. It is this that drove the people of the Old Testament to admit our human frailty:
Psalm 8:3 When I look at the sky, which you have made, at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places--- what are human beings, that you think of them; mere mortals, that you care for them?
Perhaps we need to accept that we live on a fragile planet where storms and earthquakes are just part of the natural cycle... a cycle that we do not control.

But at the same time Psalm 8 speaks of a God who chooses to entrust this planet into human care. Psa 8:6 You appointed them rulers over everything you made; you placed them over all creation. This does not answer the questions of why bad things happen – but it does point out that when things go wrong, we are given the task of helping to care and to clean up.

So let us pray for those who suffer from the storms of nature; and offer help where we can; and commit ourselves to caring for this fragile planet.

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