October 15, 2013 – just when we are just starting to raise ourselves from the two typhoons that hit our country, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake has rocked the Visayas and Mindanao Islands. As of this writing, there are over a hundred people confirmed dead, while others are missing. Millions of pesos worth of structures destroyed, with bridges and buildings collapsed. Business is paralyzed with thousands of people stranded waiting for help from the outside areas.
With all these, one would ask, “Where is God in all this?”
A mixed emotion against God
As I watched the news, I can’t help but be moved with compassion. It is not only the earthquake that my countrymen have to endure. They need to grieve for the loss of their loved ones, wait for power and water supply to come back, wait when their business will come back, repair their broken house, down bridges, and inspect how many structures will potentially collapse because of the aftershocks.
I listen to people who are interviewed. Our country is known for being religious. After all, we are the only “Christian” nation in Asia. Some of the most notable structures that had been destroyed by the earthquake are the Catholic churches that had been around for thousands of years ago. They are more than a church structure; they had been part of our nation’s history.
As this might be the case, I find it amusing how easy it is for people to invoke the name of God in times of calamities. But when it comes to invoking God’s presence in our daily lives, people are quick to dismiss and to push God away from the picture.
I can see people who are desperate for God’s help. They pray hard and ask God for the earthquake to stop it right at that instant before it can inflict more damage. I can see people who turn to religion when the going gets tough.
Though I can still honestly say that our country is far from being a modern Sodom and Gomorrah, I can say that we are nevertheless heading towards that direction. As we try to push away God from our lives, both in personal and national level, God will slowly remove His hand of protection over us.
Asking the hardest question
Sooner or later, people start to ask, why does God allow such devastation in our country or in any place in this world for that matter? Why does God allow suffering? If He is all-powerful and all-loving, wouldn’t it make since for Him to step in and intervene in our human affair?
Before answering this question, we must realize that this world is not God’s world. In fact, II Corinthians 4:4 tells us that the god of this world is Satan. It is also evident when we read the confrontation between Jesus and Satan that Satan tried to offer the whole world to Jesus.
Everything happens for a purpose. I know it is difficult to look at the world scene today and still believe in God that He loves us.
Here is the hard fact: God is not saving the whole of humanity today. Everyone has his or her time. Today, God is hands-off, but not for long. He wants us to see and realize what will happen when we do things by ourselves. Today, God is still working with a small group of people who will become the trailblazers in the World tomorrow and will help Him to teach all of the humanity – both dead and alive from the beginning of time – in that glorious day.
God is always in control
Of course, we cannot deny that God can anytime intervene and help us. A miracle is never too hard for Him. So why not He stopped the earthquake? Sometimes, God puts more importance on our character building over our comfort. He wants us to learn lessons from these situations.
It is really uncomfortable to deal with catastrophes, but it is only through fire that gold is made pure. Just like us, God is testing our faith and He wants us to develop it (I Peter 1:7).
In the midst of all these, we can still rely on God and trust Him that He is always in control. Nothing will happen without His permission. In God’s infinite wisdom, He knows what’s best for us.
The earthquake that day is a wake up call. It is in our human nature that we are drawn closer to God in times of hardships and calamities.
Will we answer the call of God? Certainly, our country is heading the wrong direction with the height of political corruption being exposed in our daily news, God is waking us. God is calling us to change.
It is time to answer God’s calling. It is time to change.