Why Did This “God of Love” Create Hurricane Harvey?
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’ —Mark 4:39-41
(or as observed by Gordon Lightfoot….)
Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
So why did this ‘God’ of love CREATE Harvey…. and then sit idle while an American city was drowned?… I am sure plenty of people prayed for a different outcome.
…What I am questioning is the way the Bible describes the deity. Allegedly having all the power and not desiring his children to suffer, the god seems to allow considerable suffering of otherwise innocent people, his people I am told.
Creation and Chaos
I think Scripture would say, “God subjected creation to futility” (Romans 8:20). So then, Harvey is the boundary between creation and chaos. I’d encourage you to read my book, The History of Time and the Genesis of You.
In it, I argue that God is still in the business of creating, and not everything is yet fully created, for not everything is fully good—particularly us. The thing that remains uncreated in us (Adam/mankind) is faith (trust) in love, and God is Love. “God subjected creation to futility in hope” in order that we would all learn to love God (Love) in freedom—that we would freely choose to love, that love would no longer be a law, but our nature.
The process involves death and then resurrection to Life. We must each die to our own ego (the assumption that we are our own creator) and then receive our life back as a gift. Jesus said it over and over, “He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life, for my sake, will find it.” Losing your life is commonly referred to as death.
A School of Love
In other words, life (our time in this broken world) is a school of love. It’s in suffering that we learn to love and love Love. Just your concern for people in Houston reveals that the school is working.
God does not desire for his children to suffer for suffering’s sake, but Scripture testifies over and over, and over and over again, that He desires us to suffer for Love’s sake. He said, “If you want to be my disciple, pick up a cross.” Is that not desiring that we would suffer? Is it not desiring that we would each lose our lives and then find them—that we would die with our Lord and rise with our Lord? Of course, He wants us to suffer!
If this time, and the world as we experience it, is all there is, then, of course, a God of Love makes no sense (just by definition), and your critique of that God would also make no sense: How could you accuse God of being unloving if there is no such thing as Love (transcendent Love, not just chemicals in our blood)? But, if this time, and this world as we experience it, are a school of love—teaching us to love in the image of Love, who is our Creator—well then, Hurricane Harvey is incredibly painful, but also incredibly effective.
You’ve seen the TV. It’s non-stop stories of people loving each other. And it’s created a longing in you for a finished creation, devoid of chaos, particularly the chaos in the human heart. I think that’s called “Faith, Hope, and Love.” Harvey is temporal and will pass away. Faith, Hope, and Love are eternal.
And God didn’t just sit idly by. He suffers in every person in Houston.
Where is the Miracle?
We ask, “Where’s the miracle?” The Bible never really uses the term “miracle.” Jesus used the term “sign.” Signs point to something. I think miracles or signs—like calming the storm—point to the fact that God is in charge, so if we suffer, the God who is in charge has willed that suffering for a reason. And it points to the fact that God Himself desires to suffer with us, and for us, and in us.
The religious leaders said, “If you’re the son of God, come down from that cross,” but the very thing that proved He was the Son of God, and not just a magician, was the very fact that He chose to not come down from the cross but suffer, and deliver up His Spirit as an offering of Love for God and Love for us, His neighbors. He calmed the storm on the sea, but refused to calm the storm on Mt. Calvary, for He longed to suffer in us, with us, and for us.
God will calm all the storms—after we have learned to love like the Son of God. And we will love as He loves, for we are His Body. He is now suffering in His Body broken and blood shed, but His Body will rise from the dead and we will all experience “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). In other words, God will be at home in our hearts and we will be at home with Him. His Will . . . will be our will. Until that day, He suffers in us and within every soul that suffers in Houston: “Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you do to me.” Whatever God does to any of us, or allows to be done to any of us, He does or allows to be done to Himself. He is Unstoppable Love.
Faith, Hope, and Love in us is the Spirit of God in us. It’s the Will of God, Life of God, and Judgment of God planted in the broken dirty soil of the human heart. Houston is an immense field of broken dirty soil. Where is God? He has made Himself the Seed that is planted in that soil, that turns into a tree that transforms all that dirt into fruit that will not pass away.
Of course, when I suffer (and that includes all my time in this broken world), I struggle to believe—and like you, I wonder, “Where is God?” I pray, “I believe; help my unbelief.” I think that is exactly the prayer that He longs to answer. And the answer to that prayer is the greatest “miracle.” It’s a creature created in the image and likeness of God. It’s you and it’s me.
God is in Houston
When you give to flood victims in Houston—sympathy, compassion, money or prayer—because you want to give to flood victims in Houston, you are becoming who you truly are. And that shared suffering will turn into shared partying in the New Jerusalem that will be, and is, descending upon Old Houston even now. God is in Houston.