The Japanese Tsunami

“In all their afflictions He himself was afflicted.” (Isaiah ch 63v9)

Since the Tsunami in Japan I have been contacted by a number of people pointing out that the Bible predicted these sort of events. Clearly many who view this website are interested in what Scripture predicts and it is indeed fascinating (and sobering) to read the list of warnings Jesus gave in Luke ch 21 of “great earthquakes in various places”, “fearful sights” (v11) and of people being terrified of “the sea and the waves roaring” (v25).

Although these kinds of events are plainly foretold for all to read, it is equally important to understand WHY such disasters can occur in the first place. The issue of human suffering is one of the main topics in Scripture and it gives clear teaching on why such tragic events can take place and why God’s will is so often NOT done on earth (as it is in Heaven). It explains fully why such disasters which are plainly contrary to His will take place.

Many decades ago before electrification a little girl was on a train journey with her mum. She couldn’t understand why at one point the conductor went through the carriage lighting the lamps when it was broad daylight. “Why is he putting on those lights?” she asked her mum. Her mum smiled and said “wait a bit and you’ll see the importance of those lights”. Moments later the train plunged into a long tunnel and then the girl realised the wisdom of the lamp lighting.

So likewise there are verses in Scripture which seem very insignificant and unnecessary until the tunnel of suffering is entered. Only then does it become clear why the Bible provides such teaching and the meaning of what is being taught can be seen in practice.

In Romans ch 8 vs 20-21 St Paul explains that the natural laws created by God regarding how the planet would operate were indeed originally perfect and flawless but that they are now in a state of “decay corruption and degeneration”. The corporate nature of human sin effected and spoilt what God created perfect so that these laws no longer work as God intended. (Just as a computer with a virus will often still work albeit imperfectly, so likewise the present condition of these laws of nature). The underlying basic teaching of Scripture from Genesis through to Revelation is quite simply that we humans inhabit a “fallen and decaying world” where God’s perfect laws of nature no longer work properly and God’s will is not often done.

What this means in practice is very profound although few think about its actual meaning until they enter the tunnel of trouble. It means we have human bodies which work to a degree but which are susceptible to disease such as cancer, birth defects and so on. This was never part of God’s will or plan for the human race, it is solely the result of the corporate nature of human sin causing “the fall and corruption of God’s once perfect natural laws”. Again, this “fall of nature” means the planet now has an imperfect weather system which gives some parts of the world too much rain and other parts none at all. It means some parts of the world experience earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis etc. None of these things were part of God’s desire for this planet.

Scripture warns that even the most devout person is still effected by these “fallen laws of nature”. Living a Christian life doesn’t mean one will escape getting cancer, having a child with a birth defect or being caught in an earthquake because quite simply we are still subject to “the natural laws” of the planet we inhabit. These “damaged” natural  laws explain why disasters occur, why “bad things” can happen to “good people” and why “good people” still have to put up with disease and ill-health.  The Bible states that the fall of nature means that bad events happen to the righteous and wicked alike and that this in itself is an evil. (Ecclesiates ch 9 vs 1-3)

One day these natural laws will be restored to their original and perfect condition and there are many promises in Scripture concerning this event. For example Isaiah ch 11 vs 6-9 describes a new world order where “the wolf will lie down with the lamb , and the lion will eat straw like an ox and nothing will harm or destroy in all the earth” . Amos ch 9 v13 describes the restoration of the environment so that the earth will once again produce many harvests each year rather than just one. This restoration of nature and new world order doesn’t occur until after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In Romans ch 8 vs18 -19 St Paul encourages us by stating that the sufferings of this present world order cannot be compared with the glory and beauty of the new world order which Christ will usher in.

Until that momentous restoration let us remember as Charles Spurgeon put it;

“God is with us in our sorrows.
There is no pang that rends the heart, nor disturbs the body but Jesus Christ has been with you in it all.
 Feel you the sorrows of poverty? He had nowhere to lay His head.
Do you endure the griefs of bereavement? Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus.
Have you been slandered for righteousness’ sake  and  it has vexed your soul? He said “Reproach hath broken My heart”.
Have you been betrayed? Do not forget that He too had a friend who sold Him for the price of a slave.
On what stormy seas have you been tossed which have not roared about His boat?
There is no glen of adversity so dark and so deep and apparently so pathless, that when, in stooping down, you won’t discover the footprints of the Crucified One having trodden the path before you .
In the fires and in the rivers, in the cold of night and under the burning sun, He cries “I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am both thy Companion and thy God!” ‘

There are several other important articles about “suffering” on this website. To find them please refer to the articles section on the right hand side.