Why Does God Allow Flash Floods?

Without warning the people of Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City and all the other towns in between these two cities in the northern coast of Mindanao, suffered a most devastating flash flood in their history. According to what I’ve read, a month’s worth of flood waters was suddenly dumped by Typhoon Sendong in just one night, Friday night, December 16, 2011 in these two major cities in Mindanao. It never happened that way before. Yes, there were floods occasionally but only in a few places of the city and not so devastating and so widespread as this one. As of this writing, more than 400 people are reported dead due to this disaster.

Why Flash Floods?

And it is once again during these times—just like during the Typhoon Ondoy–that people ask: “Why does God allow Flash Floods?” Why does God allow evil to befall on us humans? Why does God allow suffering? Is God really a loving God?

These are tough questions which are not easy to answer and we cannot just brush them aside. People die and suffer everywhere. So why does God allow such things to happen? Why does God allow evil?

May I suggest some reading materials that discuss about this topic:

Their Eternity Depends On Us?

I just heard a short video on the internet urging Christians to reach out and share the gospel to people whom you may not particularly like. The intention was good but there’s one comment by the video narrator that caught my attention when he said, “Their eternity depends on us.” I’ve heard that comment many, many times before and it’s being taught by many pastors and missionary leaders in the Christian community.

Common Gospel Belief

That statement is I believe the belief of so many Christian denominations and missions organizations that I know of and this is what drives them to go and preach the gospel because they believe the unbeliever’s “eternity” depends on them. That is, the salvation of unbelievers depend on the efforts of believers to reach out to them. The zeal and dedication to do missions and reach out to the unreached peoples of the world is admirable but the motivation that drives them is I think somewhat a little bit off.

It is my belief that our “eternity”—I take to mean that they mean “salvation”—does not depend on any of our human effort–or more particularly in this case, the believer’s or missionary’s efforts to “save” unbelievers. I believe that salvation is only through Jesus Christ as the Bible asserts. It is by God’s grace that we have been saved. God did it through Christ. It is his gift–God’s gifts to us from him.

Maybe it’s just the terminology. Maybe it’s just a motivational tool to urge Christians to go out and share the gospel. But it can be misunderstood. One large mission organization had actually made posters saying that millions are dying daily and are now in hell because Christians have not done their duty to go and preach the gospel. Really? Do unbeliever’s “eternity” really depend on us? I’d like to believe God is in-charge of that. The salvation of mankind depends on Christ. He will take care of that part.

To say that “their eternity depends on us” sounds to me like people won’t be saved without us—without human effort. It is sending a message that if Christians don’t do missions, it’s their fault that millions are “not saved.” It makes them guilty and forced to obey the great commission. It brings Christians on a guilt-trip if they don’t act. It’s a guilt-driven method of evangelism I would suppose. It is not love-driven—reaching out to people because we love them to be with the Lord.

Gospel Participation

I believe that God can save people even without us. In fact, he has already done it without us. God has already saved us. While we were still sinners Christ died for us already (Romans 5:8). All the unbeliever has to do is to accept it and believe it!

For us who are believers, Christians, pastors, missionaries and the like, ours is to participate in what God has already done and is doing. Let’s discern where and what God  is already doing in and through us and let’s participate in it wholeheartedly. Let us obey God’s command to go and make disciples driven not by guilt feelings and forced to obey. Let us not think that the unbeliever’s salvation depends on us.  Rather, let us go and make disciples driven by love and obedience to God and driven by love for people who are still unaware of God’s great love for all of humanity.

Our missions and evangelism should be motivated by faith, hope and love based on who God really is in Jesus Christ and who we are in him. It should not be motivated by a psychology of guilt, fear and anxiety.

People’s “eternity” depends on Jesus, not on us! Let’s participate gladly in what Christ is doing in and through us!