The Mustard Seed
The Gallaudet chaplains from the Office of Campus Ministry were having
lunch together recently when a professor joined us for casual
conversation. Then the professor asked the question, "Why
After a moment of silence, one of the chaplains answered, "You will
have to ask the Science Department."
But the professor had posed the question to the chaplains, not the
scientists. Of course, the implication of the question was, "Why
does God allow such terrible disasters?" And that question
that the Science Department can't answer.
So I raised my hand and said, "I can offer a theological answer to that
The professor invited me to proceed.
"As a Biblical literalist," I explained, "my understanding of how the
trouble began was that our original parents told God, 'I don't need you telling me what to
do. I want to be my own god. So scram!'
"God's response was, in effect, 'You
want to try to be god? Okay, go ahead. Let's see how well
you can manage the world on your own.' Hurricanes are only
one example that we really make lousy gods."
"But," asked the professor, "aren't we given responsibility to care for
"Yes," I answered. "But the plan was for us to be managers under God's authority, not
as independent agents."
Another chaplain sitting with us at the table explained that when each
of us we find ourselves in the midst of a great tragedy, we can be
confident that God still has His own special purposes for the things
that happen to us, even though we may not understand it at that moment.
As a Christian, I also understand that there are things happening in an
unseen spirit-world, things that I have no clue about, which may
influence events in the natural world. (See Ephesians 6:12 and Revelation 12:7ff.) Our responsibility is
simply to trust God and obey Him.
"There are some things the Lord
our God has kept secret, but there are some things he has let us
know. These things belong to us and our children forever so that
we will do everything in these teachings." (Deuteronomy
Obviously, my colleague who first had answered the professor's
question, by saying, "Ask the Science Department," simply meant that we
don't really know why God allows disasters to strike. We
can only take reasonable precautions, and then trust Him and remember
that nothing on earth is permanent.
~~ Pastor Ron