January 14, 2006

God in the Midst of Disaster

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1


The book America Out of the Ashes, written after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, asks the question, "Where was God?" Millions of people asked the same question after the tsunami disaster that devastated parts of southern Asia on December 26, 2004. Where is God when nations are torn apart by civil war, when disaster seems to strike at random, when children die of AIDS or hunger or poverty every single day? Psalm 46 gives the answer. God is right where he says he is: "ever-present" with us. Sure, "nations are in uproar," the earth gives way, "waters roar and foam," and "mountains quake" even today. But in spite of all that happens, "the LORD Almighty is with us." God never intended for his creation to be ravaged by disaster. We don't know why he allows it. But one thing we know: God is in control. The writer William Faulkner had it wrong when, in his Requiem for a Nun, he said that after creating everything, God lost control. In response to the question about where God was on 9/11, or when a tsunami or earthquake strikes, or when war breaks out and brings so much suffering, we can answer with Psalm 46: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble"! Pray for eyes of faith to see God's presence even in times of disaster.

Lord, sometimes it's hard for us to see you. Help us to sense your presence and see how you care for us even when things seem to be falling apart. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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