The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. – I Kings 19:11-12

My prayers are with the families of those who have lost property, and more, who have lost family and friends, in the devastating storms that tore through Oklahoma yesterday.

But I am also reminded of this passage from I Kings. A great wind tears a mountain apart, but God was not in the wind. He was not in the earthquake. He was not in the fire. “And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” In the King James, “And after the fire a still small voice.”

Often after a natural disaster such as yesterday’s tornadoes, people tend to blame God, or to ask “Where was God when all of this devastation happened?” Even if the disaster is not natural, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, these questions abound.

I have an answer that not everyone will like.

God was in the rescue workers who, just minutes after the tornado passed, were tearing through walls and rubble to seek for total strangers.

God was in the teacher who stretched out her body to shield several young elementary school students as stone and debris rained down on them from the ensuing damage caused by the tornado.

God was even in the utter joy expressed by an elderly woman who, during an on-camera interview, discovered her dog, alive and well, digging itself out of the rubble of her home.

Does God cause destruction? The Bible makes it clear that God is in control.

The Lord kills and brings to life. He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich. He brings low and He exalts. – I Samuel 2:6-7

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? – Romans 9:19-21

But doesn’t that make God a monster? Why did 24 people have to die? Why did so many people have to lose their houses? Why didn’t God just stop the tornadoes?

I have an answer for that not everyone will like.

The answer is “I don’t know.” I mean, I know that everyone dies, and I know that death was introduced because Adam and Eve were disobedient and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But I don’t know why those 24 people had to die in the storms. I don’t know why those 26 people had to die at Sandy Hook.

Then again, I’m not God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

If you’ve read my previous posts, particularly the post about Genesis 1 and 2 and the “30,000-foot view,” this passage starts to make sense. The thing is, God has the 30,000-foot view AND He has the one-inch view of all of us, at all times.

We don’t know God’s plan, but the Bible makes clear that He has one. God’s plan is perfect, and it will come to pass. There is a reason that those tornadoes destroyed those homes, schools, and businesses in Oklahoma yesterday. And while God may (or may not) have caused the storm, He will use this tragedy, as He does every other, to reveal His plan. and His plan will always be one of desiring relationship with humanity.

For my readers in the Oklahoma City area, if you are looking for practical ways to help those who have been affected by this disaster, you can volunteer through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse, which is an internation relief and evangelism organization. You can contact them at www.spvolunteernetwork.org/. And even if you don’t live in the area, you can send a donation to Samaritan’s Purse through this web link: www.samaritanspurse.org/donation-items/us-disaster-relief-donation/.