“Mom, why does God allow hurricanes to happen?”
My 11-year-old daughter asked quietly, as we watched the latest updates on Hurricane Irma.
I sat silently for a few moments gathering my thoughts to such an intense question.
Many adults are asking this same question, but few claim to have an answer. How should I address this with my child, whose faith in God is so new?
My middle-school-aged daughter understands the danger Hurricane Irma presented and was just as concerned about the devastation as I was. I knew my answer would heavily influence her worldview. I was tempted to arm her with my biblical viewpoint and try to impress her with a theological approach, but the truth is I had sat there wondering the same thing for a moment.
I have my beliefs on this topic.
In Scripture, I see Jesus calming the storm. I see God parting the Red Sea, and I see Him providing in times of famine. But at that moment, my daughter didn’t need to be impressed by the depth of my biblical knowledge. She needed to be reassured that God is good, and He is in control.
My answer was simply, “I don’t know.”
I don’t know why God allows hurricanes and other natural disasters, but here is what I do know.
God is good, and hurricanes Irma and Harvey provide an opportunity to be who we say we are and share a brighter side of humanity.
The last few weeks the news hasn’t been full of racial tension, but rather stories of Americans saving and helping each other. We have seen unity in a beautiful way in our nation, a way we haven’t seen in some time. When a stranger is in danger of losing his life most people would do whatever they can to save him, no matter his race or political view. At our core, we have been unified as a nation, praying and believing for protection for each other.
These disasters have given churches and Christians a chance to step up and help meet a great need. I have been touched by all the stories of churches, ministries and Christians who have stepped into dangerous situations to provide food, water, clothing and diapers to those who desperately need them. We have been able to be the Church in the world, the Church in the community, and the Church in times of disaster. These groups are ministering not just to those within their walls. We have become the Church without walls.
Finally, the hurricanes have put things into perspective for a lot of people. Houses can be rebuilt, cars can be replaced, but your life and the lives of your loved ones are priceless. The things that matter so much before a storm or natural disaster no longer seem of supreme importance when it passes by.
As we ended our conversation, I pulled my daughter close, kissed her head and reassured her of God’s goodness and love.
She, like most children in uncertain times, wasn’t looking for an answer. She was looking for comfort.
Autumn Miles is the author of “Appointed: Your Future Starts Now” and the founder and CEO of The Blush Network, a conference ministry dedicated to spiritually challenging the way women think. Autumn is an accomplished speaker who leads women’s conferences nationwide through The Blush Network. She is also the host of “The Autumn Miles Show,” a Christian radio show on Salem Radio Network in Dallas, Texas and sits on the advisory council for the women’s ministry department at Liberty University.