Few could be oblivious to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. As the stories and images of devastation fill our screens, the international community springs into action. Stories of heartache, survival, death, hope, and despair emerge. Stories that show both the good and evil sides of mankind.
It's easy in the face of such devastation to ask where was God in all this. Easy and perhaps natural.
It's something I've grappled with myself over recent days and I've found peace knowing that none of this took God by surprise.
Let me go back a few days. Friday afternoon we received an urgent email from a friend. It said simply, "We are in the middle of a terrible typhoon. Please pray."
And heard nothing for four days.
His family, while hoping for the best, were expecting the worst.
It was during this time that I asked where had God been when all this was happening. And the answer was swift: He was there. He is there. This did not take Him by surprise. He wasn't busy or slumbering. He was there all the time.
And it hit me then: God is good. Whatever the outcome, God is good.
We heard news of our friend last night. He had survived the storm and had been picked up by the airforce and taken to Cubu from where he was making his way to Manila.
Disbelief. Relief. There are many words to describe how we felt.
Others face a less than happy outcome. We don't know yet if the missionaries he was helping survived. We already know that many people didn't.
Does that change the fact that God is good? Not at all. God is good and He cannot deny His own character ... but there are times when we don't understand. Times when we don't see the big picture, or times when, as someone wrote on my Facebook wall, in the face of such an event we are reminded of our limited capacity to understand life's catastrophes.
For me, as DH and I plan to visit South-East Asia, this has been reassuring. It was too easy for me in the beginning to focus on the dangers and the risks and the what-ifs of our planned trip. I spent far too much energy thinking about what could go wrong. I worried about all the wrong things. I got worked up over all the worst case scenarios.
And I didn't need to.
Because whatever happens, God is in control. Whatever happens (or does not happen), it will not take Him by surprise. And, whatever happens (and we hope that it is good but there's never any guarantee), God is good.
God. Is. Good.
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever (Psalm 106:1).