In my years of existence as a Christian, knowing, believing and accepting Jesus as my Lord and personal savior, it is my first time to hear some of the theology discussed in the forum, “Why, Oh God…?”. I was blessed and confused. I don’t know if I will believe all of what they said because they are theologian and they studied it well or I will stay of what I believed for a long time. Anyway, these what I learned from the forum.
It was said that the earth, all non-living and living creatures including human beings in short all creation came from messiness. From messiness to creativity and all are not yet finished. Natural disasters are all part of the creation. In some point, it is not a punishment from God to this wicked world. It is just happening because God created the nature as it is with a transformation happening (ex. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons with scientific explanations). It was also said that human beings are not the center of creation. We are just a part of it and only God is the center. Although, we are very special creation because only humans made by God’s own hands and we had given responsibility to subdue the earth and take care of other creation. This shows that God is a relational God. He created a dynamic world. God, human and non-human is a participant of this ongoing process. Natural disaster is a mess which can enhance the beauty of creation. I just thought of what had happen to Mt. Pinatubo. After it erupted and killed many lives way back 1991, it now became one of the most beautiful tourist spots. God did not create a risk free world. God allows the nature’s behavior as He allows ours. Human sin continues to have negative impact to us and to the environment. It also intensify the negative effects of natural disasters like having flood easily when it has heavy rains because we don’t have lot of trees to hold water rains. God is never been absent but letting the world work. Judgment is not a punishment for sin. It’s a natural consequence of human behavior. It was also said that suffering is part of living this beautiful world. God created human beings finite, maybe hurt, maybe weak, lack of knowledge, etc.
While reflecting, I go back to Genesis 1-3 and I discover something I did not discover in the past. Suffering intensify after the fall (Gen.3:16) and after God cursed the ground because of the sin they had done, disobedience. It is true even today, we got sick if we will not take care of our bodies and other sickness/ diseases came from the genes of our parents/grandparents. Jesus came not just to save us (humans), not just to restore our relationship to God but also to restore the all creations. God’s purpose is seen even in a little thing in creation including in disasters. “God challenges Job to trust His design for the world manifests a concern for all His creation.”- Ptr. Noli. “Intended chaos is a precondition of a new life. Chaos is just manage and not absent. Our eternal destiny is the transformation of whole creation.”
Despite of what happening to us and suffering we experience, just few of us asking God why? Maybe because we presume that we knew God has a reason why He allows these disasters happened. It maybe a punishment to the bad things we had done. But still God will rescue and save us and God is in control. We have no right to question God.
But in this forum, I learned that it’s okay to ask God why? “It presupposes that God is personal and that we had a close relationship with Him. Just like we can’t question our boss but we can ask our father, especially our Father in heaven. We know that God is loving and just. Our relationship with Him depends on how we know Him and on what God truly is. “To come to know God as God truly is, is a long and deep journey, of tears, anger even despair and questioning. Scripture describe and proved who God is and what He truly likes. God is with us even in our suffering. He gives us the Holy Spirit that brings hope, which can lead us and help us in times of suffering.
There are more kinds of suffering, poverty, war, natural disasters, sickness, persecution, etc. It depends on us on how we respond with these sufferings. For some suffering is something to be celebrated. The authentic response to it is thanksgiving and prayer for boldness. The Holy Spirit will lead us to be in solidarity with one another in times of suffering. Some of the recommendations that I heard which we can apply also with the ministry that God entrusted us are let’s present the gospel in totality, with blessings and sufferings. We will present the message of counting the cost or the cost of commitment for following Jesus Christ. We will help each other especially in times of need and as church will pray for the victims. We can be a good witness through the suffering we experience even we will not say it. God’s answer of suffering is love and faith. I pray that we can be united in one good theology as a movement for our students in God’s willing.