Not long ago, a majority of urbanites in Nepal supposedly had 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 at 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 losing their 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 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 into their souls 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 goddesses. Another group of people looks at the tragedy as a causal effect of Karmic law as prescribed in the Vedic scriptures. One who struggles more are the ones with a 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 proclaimed 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 will not 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 on 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 heads.
God is right with his people amid this tragic loss and suffering. He is not descending from 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 through 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 is 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 the future holds for us. Possibly, there will be more pain, suffering, agony, 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.