When hurricane Andrew was approaching southern Florida, many people prayed. My wife and I certainly did. Our prayers, however, were not a pleading to God but a striving to understand more of God's presence already with each one, caring and providing for everyone who seemed threatened. We prayed to recognize that real power lies only in God, good.
Yet the hurricane came. It was devastating, with some people killed, 85,000 left homeless, and untold other damage. No doubt many of those who lost their homes or suffered severe damage had been praying earnestly, as we had. So it might be tempting to feel that prayer had failed. On the other hand, others prayed and their homes and businesses were saved. So what does all this add up to? Is prayer meaningless? Does God play favorites, perhaps arbitrarily? Or does God even have something to do with such disasters?
Some legal language still classifies natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, fires, as "acts of God." And many people accept disasters as God's will. Such a sense of God is not one I could ever relate to or pray to. Yet we do read in the Bible, "Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire." Isa. 29:6. And, "I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." Isa. 45:7. This could seem like Biblical authority for that concept of a vengeful God!
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