A word to those in Moore, Oklahoma who lost their homes and loved ones from the tornado:
My heart is heavy for you this morning. While I sit here in my living room, drinking coffee, I an’t even begin to imagine what it would be like for all of this to be reduced to sticks and rubble. I cannot pretend to know what it is like for home—the concrete, steady place of rest—to so suddenly crumble like dust. I do not know that. But what I do know is this:
God did not do this because he is angry with you. He did not send this tornado as a sign of his wrath. God is not angry at you—he is hurting with you. He is hurt by this disaster and he is angry at the fallen forces of nature. He loves you and he shed more than a tear for you.
God did not do this to show off his sovereignty. He did not do this to flex his omnipotent biceps. What kind of sovereignty would he have if this is how he showed it? A grotesque and demented kind left only for those lost in their pride without a care or a thought for another! His sovereignty is not thus. The sort of sovereignty that belongs to God is the kind that can hear every one of your prayers without the slightest strain. It is the only sort of omnipotence that could take on all of the darkness, evil, pain, suffering—even death itself—and still come out on the other side. This is the sovereignty of God that you can rest in.
I would venture so far as to say that God did not do this at all! I know that statements like this call into question the evangelical notion of “the will of God.” But I think it far better to question a bit of misguided theology than to question the biblical testimony of the character of God. For the story of the Scriptures tells of a God who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.” (Exodus 34:6) This is the God to whom the ancient people of Israel sing when their homes are all lost and they are cast into exile. (Psalm 107) This is the God to whom David sings when he surrounded by enemy soldiers in battle. (Psalm 57) This is the God who the prophet Joel testified, “relents over disaster.” (Joel 2:13)
God is good. And he is about the business of renewal, not destruction; of building up, not tearing down; of healing the broken-hearted, not breaking their hearts. “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Those are his words. And they are our hope.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Make all things new.
Put this world to rights.