The question hasn’t been asked of me yet, but I know it’s coming: “If God is so loving, why is He allowing what is happening in Houston to take place?”
Houston is not alone in suffering natural disasters, of course, but it is currently ongoing and it is on a massive scale. It looks like something out of a disaster movie, much like Katrina in 2005 or any of the other large-scale disasters that have stricken the planet since the advent of widespread, instant communication. Thousands upon thousands of people are without power, without food and water, without shelter, and many are, worst of all, without hope.
This past Sunday I preached on Psalm 23 and John 10, about how Jesus is the Shepherd who provides, protects, and promises a future for His flock. But where is the Great Shepherd when disaster strikes?
Let’s reduce the scale a bit. I have a friend, who is a believer, whose daughter will be undergoing brain surgery tomorrow to relieve a problem caused by errant blood vessels in her brain. No parent wants to see their child go through health issues, regardless of that child’s age. If God is loving and merciful, why would a person have to go through something like this?
And in between these two situations separated by scale are millions of other crises that arise on a daily basis. Innocents suffering, good people hurting, disaster on stages great and small.
Where is the Shepherd in the storm?
He is right where He said He would be: with His sheep.
Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” No matter how dark the day may be, no matter how great the shadow is that falls across our lives and threatens to overcome us, the Shepherd is with His sheep. His rod of protection and staff of guidance will do their work, and the knowledge of this provides comfort.
What about those that are not His sheep? What about those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and have never placed their faith in Him? Are they the ones who are without hope that I mentioned above?
They don’t have to be. In John 10:16, Jesus said, “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” God’s love is so great that He makes room for those who want to come into His care. Jesus didn’t die on a cross for good people, or religious people–He died for all people, everyone of which is a sinner in need of a Savior.
So where is the Great Shepherd? Why isn’t He doing something? He is–we just aren’t always looking with the right perspective. When we look rightly, what we see is the immovable presence of the Shepherd through every storm, every attack, every problem, no matter what the scale may be. Videos are popping up on social media of convoys of pickups pulling boats on their way to Texas to help rescue people who are trapped by floodwaters. People from all walks of life are sending money, food, water, and other needed items to people they have never met. The Shepherd is at work, providing and protecting, and He is using us to do it. Make no mistake, I believe that God can do whatever supernatural miracle He chooses. I also believe that sometimes we are the rod and staff in the hands of the Shepherd who is always with us, and that God allows such tragedy for us to be used to provide for and protect others, so that they might see there is a future promised for them through our faithfulness.
Be certain of this: no matter the storm, no matter the adversity, the Shepherd is in our midst. He is at work. He will take the terrible and make something beautiful, because that is what Jesus does.