It’s the question millions around the world are asking.
Especially down in Houston, Texas after last week’s historic and horrific visit by Hurricane Harvey.
No one could have predicted that this storm — which started out as a tropical depression in the Gulf…upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane…but reduced to Category 1 status by the time it made landfall — would have stalled over that part of Texas, home to over three million people.
And, no one could have predicted that it’d dump right at 52” of rain on the nation’s fourth-largest city whose annual rainfall averages 49”.
But, that’s exactly what it did, which resulted in epoch rains and unprecedented flooding in places where there’d never been flooding before. That’s why authorities are estimating that some 80% of affected households are uncovered by flood insurance.
There’s no doubt that memories of Hurricane Katrina flashed through our minds as we saw pictures of people standing on their rooftops, hoping to be rescued. And, interestingly, Harvey made landfall on August 25, about the same time Katrina began unleashing its first fury on helpless and hapless New Orleans.
Thankfully, the loss of life in Houston was nowhere close to that of New Orleans; however, the economic devastation will far exceed that of the Big Easy in 2005.
Regardless, the question likely lurking in Houstonians’ hearts and minds is the same the residents of the Crescent City had: “Where is God? Why is this happening to me? Why did God cause/allow this?”
Tough questions for sure. And, questions that demand an answer, even though that will not restore the lives, property, family photos, heirlooms, etc., that were washed away.
Even so, the question still lingers: “Where were You, God, in all of this?”
Thankfully, there is an answer.
If we were living in Old Testament times, the hands-down answer would be “God caused this. It’s the Judgment of God because of your sinfulness.” However, by New Testament times that answer somehow didn’t quite fit into Jesus’ portrayal of His Heavenly Father — especially when He said “Love your enemies and pray for them,” instead of “Kill them all.”
So, what gives? Is God schizophrenic or bi-polar — acting one way one minute and another way the next?
The answer is “No. He is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ and there’s not even the slightest hint that He’ll ever change” (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8).
If that’s so, the question then becomes “Well, why did He allow it? Why didn’t He do something to stop it?”
Now we’re to the real bottom-line issue in all of this: the problem of evil, sin, suffering and the sovereignty of God. So, how do you answer the question “Where is God?”
The simple answer is “He was right there with those wading through waist-deep water or being rescued by boat or helicopter.” To that the mocking unbeliever or cynic sneeringly replies, “Well, if there is a God, then He must either be unloving or unable to prevent such things.”
Strong objections. But, not true — for we live in a broken, sinful world that’s suffered ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box of disease, deformity, depravity, destruction, death, etc. In fact, “All of creation groans and travails in pain together until now like a woman in childbirth pains” (Romans 8:22).
But, one of these days the same One Who created us will say “Enough!” and put an end to all of this. Until then, we must live by Faith, not sight, and continue trusting that His Grace is sufficient and He’ll use EVERYTHING in our lives for our good and His Glory (Rom. 8:28).
Yes, dear Reader, it’s all about trusting and entrusting: knowing that your sparrow-watching, hair-counting, tear-catching Heavenly Father will always take care of you.
So, here’s hoping you have that Hope and Assurance; if not, I hope you will soon because life’s too short and scary to live without knowing the answer to “Where is God?” God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.