If recent history is any indication, we Christians are want to pontificate on the deeper meaning behind such tragedies as just occurred in Japan. There will be those among us who speculate that the earthquake and tsunami were somehow God’s judgment on a “pagan” nation. I doubt it.
This is a fallen world, creation is marred, and groans, and things just happen. Don’t agree with me? Look at Jesus words in Luke 13:1-5:
“1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?
5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
I think He’s pretty clear here on the lesson of tragedies. Firstly, the dead are beyond our succor. We can do nothing to aid them. Secondly, we need to look to the condition of our souls. And thirdly, He explicitly addresses the notion that His questioners entertained; namely, that the victims were somehow more sinful than others. Jesus says no, they were not. We are all of us alike in our sinfulness.
So whether it’s Japan, or Haiti, or the Gulf Coast, or Indonesia, the lesson is for we the living. We must look to the state of our souls. Speculating on who the worse sinners are is pointless. We are all sinners. And someday each of us will stand before our Maker.
“Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” –John Donne