The Earthquake and Tsunami

By Not Known

Our region is stunned as the funerals, damage assessment, clean up and rebuilding continues after last Sunday's terrible earthquake and tsunami. The accounts of lives lost and property damaged draw our horrified fascination.

What do we make of this as Christians?

For one thing, we identify with those who suffer. Many of us have taken holidays in the affected places and we have a sense of the ordinariness of it all. People like us were going about their daily lives. We can imagine ourselves sitting in that restaurant or taking a pleasant morning stroll on that beach. Part of our horror and our sense of relief is that it could have been us. One member of our congregation was 400m from one of the beaches were the waves struck. How near yet so far! Such moments provoke a sense of gratitude and a sense of the preciousness of life.

Second, we stand in awe. The thought that an earthquake under the sea off Tasmania could trigger another undersea earthquake and tsunami that travelled so far, had such force and did such damage is awesome. Our human strength is as nothing before that of the creation, yet the earth is only God's footstool. Listen to God's question to arrogant Job re the power of the sea:

Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38: 8- 11)

Third, we open our hearts and hands to those who suffer. In serving the regional needy, we server God himself (Mt 25:31-36). We are immensely privileged to live in Singapore with it protected geology and natural barriers to tidal waves. Our sense of plenty and of safety should move us to generosity to others who were already poor but who are now devastated (2 Co 8: 13-15 – words written in response to another natural disaster).

Finally, we join Job in silence before God (Job 40:3-5). Even as we confess God’s sovereignty over all things (Eph 1: 11) we realise that we do not understand why he allows such terrible disasters. Let us leave such speculation to fools, and give ourselves to awe and care