Minister’s letter – God and Disaster, Part 1
Our first response as Christians to a disaster like the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria is to offer prayers and practical help. To that end I commend anglicanaid.org.au, where you can donate funds and find prayers that you may adopt as your own.
But it’s only natural for Christians to soon ask “What’s God’s role in this disaster?” There are a few things we can say. The first is to acknowledge that God is not the only player in these disasters. A recent news article reported how the Turkish government has started arresting builders for shoddy workmanship, some of whom fled the country immediately after the quake. From the ABC: “Even though Türkiye has, on paper, construction codes that meet current earthquake-engineering standards, they are too rarely enforced, explaining why thousands of buildings slumped onto their side or pancaked downward onto residents.” “Acts of God” are rarely just that; greed and corruption often make natural disasters much worse than they might otherwise be.
Rather than giving us a reason to push God away, the earthquake can spur us to promote God as part of the solution. Knowing God leads to repentance from sin and love for one’s neighbour, and this should result in a rejection of the type of greed that makes disasters worse. There is another role human sin plays, which I’ll discuss next week.