Not long ago, a majority of urbanites in Nepal had supposedly a normal life. People were trying to catch up with the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Their effort to find good fortune in the city kept people in a constant pace with others. People had no time to pause and reflect on life. Life was hard; however, it was moving on its course until a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the capital city, Kathmandu on 25th April 2015. It shook the ground beneath violently that cracked and crumbled the city. Historical monuments turned to rubble. More than 8,300 lives were snubbed and 19,500 were injured. That number could go even higher. Around 200,000 people were displaced and confined to live in the open field under the makeshift shelters.
Survivors had yet to come to terms with the loss of the loved ones to this magnitude of the calamity, another 7.4-magnitude quake hit the country again on 12th May 2015. Houses that resisted the first quake also fell to the ground killing more people. In between those two bigger quakes, there were more than one hundred and fifty aftershocks which ranged from 4.5 to 5.5 Richter scales.
What I know for sure is that the God of the Bible is a loving God who feels our pain in a personal level. He has lost his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to the violent death as the atonement of our sins. He knows our loss, grief, and our daily needs. He mourns with us in our pain and suffering. He knows better what it is like to lose a loved one.
With the dust settling down slowly, people are trying to come to normalcy with a constant fear that another aftershock will bring a fresh shock. The very existential needs also compelled people to dive deep in their soul in search of answers to this painful tragedy. Some look at this course of the event as a mere natural disaster that had nothing to do with the pantheons of gods and goddess. Another group of people look at the tragedy as a causal effect of Karmic law as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. Ones who struggle more are the one with Judeo-Christian worldview that posits God is Sovereign over all creation, and he is an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God.
Where do we find God in this event? What was he doing when his worshippers were proclaiming his holy name while the building collapsed on them? Has he turned a deaf ear to the howl of his people who were trapped inside the crumbling building? Where shall we go to find solace for our shredded souls with agonizing pain due to the loss of our dearest and nearest ones?
I am not going to claim that I have all the answers to these questions. I do not know the mysteries behind these sorts of tragedies. I might never have satisfactory answers while I am in the mortal flesh. What I know for sure is that the God of the Bible is a loving God who feels our pain in a personal level. He has lost his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to the violent death as the atonement of our sins. He knows our loss, grief, and our daily needs. He mourns with us in our pain and suffering. He knows better what it is like to lose a loved one. He cares for us, as we have no place to lay down our head.
God is right with his people in the midst of this tragic loss and suffering. He is not descending from the heaven in the clouds. Neither is he waving his magic wand to ease people’s pain nor he comes with a magic chant to spell the evil out of this corrupted world. But he is so close to the afflicted ones. He is in the midst of those who are working as an extension of his unending grace to carry the burden of the survivors. He is sobbing while looking at the rescuers digging the debris to bring out the victims and survivors. He is wailing with the mother and the father who lost their children. He is with the homeless, sick, hungry, beaten down, injured, and relief workers. He is right there with his church which are his hands and feet.
The earth herself is not immune to pain and agony after sin entered into this world. The Bible says:
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Romans 8:22-23 NLT)
We do not know what future holds for us. Possibly, there will be more pain, suffering, agony, and scarcity etc. etc. We do have a glorious hope though. God who is mourning with us now is going to deliver us from the present time. We have seen his faithfulness in our own lives. We hold to this foretaste of the future glory that this pain and suffering is subdued through the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.