There are questions that are hard to answer.
In the wake of the recent calamity many people are asking questions.
- Why did the calamity occur?
- Who is responsible for this?
- Why does this have to happen to me at a time like this?
- Where is God in all of these?
- Why do I feel so angry?
- Is this the end times?
- Is God judging our country?
- What will happen to me now?
- Will I still be able to recover?
Tragedies are real. And the people who are affected by tragedies are not just statistics. They are real people. In any tragedy the tears are real and so the worst thing to do is to pretend it’s not that bad. Whether it is a personal tragedy or a calamity that hits a family, a city or even a country, the hurts and the pains are real and we need to understand some principles behind it.
1. TRAGEDIES WILL HAPPEN.
In this world there will be trouble.
Suffering and pain are real. No one is spared from trouble.
Climate change, ecological disasters, wars and rumors of wars are mostly caused by man’s sinfulness. There is a saying that goes: “Old man start wars and send the young ones to die in them.” And then there are the natural calamities. I remember the tsunami, the earthquakes that killed a lot more people in Indonesia while Manila was under water. There will be trouble in this world. It is part of life and existence in this planet.
2. TRAGEDIES REVEAL CHARACTER
The recent calamity has produced heroes. I think of the soldiers who gave up their lives in saving others. I think of this movie actor who saved his neighbors. I think of the countless young people who offered their time and labor helping out with packing relief goods. I think of the many private companies and individuals who did not hesitate in donating money and goods and many of them did so anonymously.
Buy tragedy also reveals sinfulness, greed and selfishness.
I think of the local official who used a rubber raft in saving his family and himself alone without taking anybody else with him when there was more than enough room to accommodate others in the raft.
I think of the local officials who withheld the giving of the relief goods because they were waiting for media coverage. I think of this executive who drowned and later on with the body recovered revealing his ring and Rolex missing.
Crisis does not create character. It simply reveals it.
3. TRAGEDIES ARE PURPOSEFUL
God is sovereign. He is still in control. But we need to learn lessons from the calamity to enable us to improve our current situation. We should not allow the recent tragedy to leave without a purpose. There are so many lessons to be learned from this.
Calamity preparation. Zoning. Safety and precautionary measures, etc. If we did not learn from this recent calamity, then the tragedy did not serve its purpose.
I cancelled all of my talks and seminars this week, got my kids with me and helped out in a relief operations center. I encourage you to do the same. This is the best time to teach our children to think beyond themselves and discover the reality that we are a part of the community.
Give what we can give. And serve while we can serve.
Go to the nearest evacuation center. Donate goods or money. Just help.
And then there is talk that there will be stronger typhoons to come.
When logic and reason stay totally helpless in situations like this, the best think you and I can do is to pray. I thought through this the other day. And I posted this thought on my Facebook page (got a tremendous amount of response all over the world):
“The flood waters have not yet subsided and a stronger storm is headed our way. In times like these, when logic and reason does not work, prayer does! Speakers like me can encourage people to stay strong in the midst of the storm. Scientists can provide helpful info on how to act during a storm but only Jesus can still the storm.”