Earthquakes, Cyclones, and Wars

Yesterday I read of an aftershock hitting a poor, mountainous region of Sichuan province in central China that toppled thousands of buildings and injured hundreds of people. This follows on the heels of the worst earthquake in three decades with a death toll of over 62,000 people. While everything associated with the situation is tragic, the tiny orphans are the most heartbreaking. Then there’s the Myanmar cyclone and the ongoing loss of life there; at least now it seems that a turning point has been reached that will allow foreign aid workers entry into the area. We’ll see. Closer to home, today’s The State reports that a guardsman from SC was killed in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked.


All that is sad, bad stuff and it makes me think of a conversation I had with some of my lunch buddies last week. We were discussing religion, God, His purposes, the Old Testament vs. the New Testament, whether Job really lived, and so forth. Towards the end of our hour, someone wondered how God could allow such tragedies as those in China and Myanmar to occur…not to mention the thousands on a smaller scale. No one had any answers that day, and I don’t have any today either.


However, yesterday I came across a quote by Howard W. Hunter that I had jotted down on one of my little writing pads. “God knows what we do not know and sees what we cannot see.” It’s about the same as the verse from Isaiah that assures us that “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9


No, that really doesn’t satisfy all of our questioning and seeking, but it does remind us that perhaps our minds are too small to comprehend the events of the world in the same way that God does. After all, He’s God, and I’m Jayne, a mortal who breathes, walks, talks, and enjoys chocolate because it’s His will that I do so.  


I have to remind myself that I “see through a glass darkly.” At the same time, not believing in God because surely He could have stopped such catastrophes and loss of life doesn’t change the situation. In fact, what else is there to believe in? Does not believing in an omnipotent being aid in understanding or grant peace? To me, the answer is no. In fact, not believing is a little scary, and for now I’m content to follow Heber J. Grant’s advice to let the mysteries of heaven wait until I get to heaven.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

9 thoughts on “Earthquakes, Cyclones, and Wars”

  1. This may come out a bit harsh, and I don’t mean it to, but who says that God’s job is too keep us ‘safe’? We have free will to make our own choices in the face of adversity for a reason. I can’t imagine that, in the vein of “what we do not know”, God’s priority would be to preserve our physicial bodies.

    Maybe it is, but I suspect not.

  2. With out the negative things we see in this world we cannot expect to know of the good.

    This is expressed in 2 Nephi when Lehi is Blessing his Sons.

  3. Marla I laughed when I saw the name of your blog, I knew you were a mom because your message over on my blog had a “mom tone” and God used you to speak to me today, my earthly “mom” is a lost mean person and that was one of things I talked to God about today and he sent me a “Godly Mom” to remind me that without faith where would I be….THANKS!

  4. “God knows what we do not know and sees what we cannot see.”

    AMEN!! He sure does. I have “discussions” with my husband about God, the Bible, and whether or not the Bible is the inspired Word of God or simply written by men and changed over time.

    I believe, with all my heart, that the Bible is God’s Word…and I believe it is still as relevant today as it was when it was inspired and put into writing. I believe this, even though I cannot prove it, because I’ve seen His Word change lives and heal hearts and homes and I’ve felt God speak to me through it many times, more than I could possibly count.

    I don’t understand the tragedies that occur in this world. They are painful and horrible and I think sometimes we feel really far from all of that terribleness…especially in the U.S. We forget (or choose to bury our heads in the sand) that in so many places there is tremendous suffering, the likes of which very, very few can even imagine in this country.

    “God knows what we do not know and sees what we cannot see.” I think that pretty well sums it up.

  5. Very well spoken, written, MarlaJayne. The reasons or logic for what we see as tragic could be millions of years ahead of our time here on Earth. For our lifetimes are like less than a fraction of mili-second in comparison to eternity. Also, we know not of what lies ahead of us after our earthly life – darkly we see, indeed; perhaps even blind. I’m imagining those people who have gone before us have arived at another realm of life – one for which we will all experience one sweet day! When we truly have a personal relationship with God, the universe, or anything/anyone else – the energy we output, whether negative or positive, is what we usually receive.

    Peace, Light and Love, CordieB.

  6. I’ve always had trouble with the idea that someone might deny the existence of God because there is pain and suffering in this word… would a child deny the existence of his or her parents (speaking in terms of Good, loving parents who want nothing more than what is best for their children) because they suffer sometimes, because their parents even ALLOW themselves to suffer sometimes?

    This mortal existence is such a small, passing thing… and yet it is the world to us here living in it.

    Side note: I’m glad it’s the will of God that you enjoy chocolate. I feel like I have an excuse now!!! LOL.

  7. I’ve really enjoyed reading these posts and gaining additional perspectives on this issue. When I was about 28 or 29, I worked with this man who was once the president of a two-year college, and one of his most frequent sayings was, “This is not my world; I’m just passing through.” At the time I didn’t think much about it, but now I see so much truth in that, for we are all just passing through FOR A VERY SHORT TIME COMPARED TO ETERNITY.

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