Some people believe there is a God and that He put the world in motion, creating natural rules and laws and He is, for the time being, “hands off”. They believe whatever happens happens and God is (or maybe has decided to be) powerless to change or alter anything. These people would probably argue that the tornadoes and subsequent death and destruction are simply nature being nature. I know a person who suffered a terrible loss and said they had to believe God was powerless to stop the tragedy. They could not handle the thought that God may have allowed or even caused it. I understand their struggle. And because they feel a need for an explanation, this is how they explain bad things: God is simply powerless to prevent them. (If you believe this, what kind of sense does prayer make?)
I cannot believe that the One who created everything out of nothing is powerless to act. If I believe Jesus is the Son of God and died for our sin, if I believe He whispered, “Peace, be still” and the winds and the waves ceased when He was with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4), how can I doubt that He could stop a hurricane or tornado? How can I doubt that He could prevent a couple of terrorists from getting to their destination to set off bombs? He could cause the terrorists to trip and fall and be hit by a car before they could set the bombs off! I believe God can do anything. I believe He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River. I believe He came to earth in the form of His Son Jesus, born of a virgin. I believe Jesus rose from the dead. But now, as explanations go, I have a problem. How do I explain all those people being killed in the Oklahoma tornadoes? How do I explain all the stories I heard from the people in New Orleans on my mission trips there? If the God I believe in can do anything, how do I explain their stories of dead bodies floating by after Katrina? The question is the elephant in the room. How can a loving God allow such tragedy? Or to make it even worse, how could a loving God CAUSE such tragedy? And remembering that I am the created and not the Creator, I hope you don’t seek the answer from me.
I can not reconcile the thought that God is able to prevent the most horrific tragedies, but decides not to. I can not explain why God lets a child die, lets cancer seem to prevail, or lets people ‘not choose’ Jesus. I can not explain why He allowed the tornado and will allow another one another day. Nobody can explain it.
A.W. Tozer says, “The question ‘Why did God make people?’ has always troubled thinking men.” Why did God even make us? Tozer said we can be sure that it was not so God could fill some unfulfilled need in Himself. I can’t tell you why. But I can tell you that I don’t have to have an explanation for everything. I don’t have to believe that God is powerless in order to make myself feel better about Him and about bad things. He is not powerless. On the contrary, He is all powerful. And I trust Him. I trust Him even though there are things I will never understand. Some people would call that foolishness on my part. God calls it faith.