But what about Christians who are affected by natural disasters? When a hurricane hits, it doesn’t just demolish the homes of non-Christians. Aren’t Christians exempt from God’s wrath due to Jesus’ sacrificial death? Then how can we say that God is the one ultimately behind natural disasters when they might very well harm His own children?
These are indeed difficult questions. We must realize, however, that the answers aren’t any easier if we base them upon the false premise that Satan causes natural disasters. If Satan causes all natural disasters, then why does God allow him to cause things that might harm God’s own children? We still face the same problem.
The Bible does state plainly that those who are in Christ are “not destined for wrath” (1 Thes. 5:9). At the same time, the Bible says that “the wrath of God abides on” those who don’t obey Jesus (John 3:36). Yet how can God’s wrath abide upon the unsaved without affecting the saved, when the saved live right among the unsaved? The answer is that, sometimes it can’t, and we should face up to that fact.
In the days of the exodus, all the Israelites were living together in one location, and the plagues which God sent as judgment upon the Egyptians did not harm them (see Ex. 8:22-23; 9:3-7; 24-26; 12:23). But with us, we live and work side-by-side with the “Egyptians.” If God is to judge them by means of a natural disaster, then how are we to escape?
Escape is definitely the key word in understanding the answer to this question. Although Noah escaped God’s full wrath when God flooded the earth, he still was adversely affected, as he had to labor to build the ark and then had to spend a year on board with a multitude of smelly animals. (Incidentally, both Old and New Testaments give God the credit for the flood of Noah, not Satan; see Gen. 6:17; 2 Pet. 2:5).
Lot escaped with his life when God’s judgment fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah, but he still lost everything he had in the destruction of the fire and brimstone. God’s judgment upon wicked people affected a righteous man.
Years in advance, Jesus had forewarned the believers in Jerusalem to flee when they saw their city surrounded by armies, because those would be “days of vengeance” (Luke 21:22-23)—clearly indicating God’s wrathful purpose for allowing the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Praise God that the Christians who heeded Christ’s warning escaped with their lives, but they still lost what they had to leave behind in Jerusalem.
In all three of the above examples, we see that God’s people may very well suffer to some degree when God’s judgment falls upon the wicked. We cannot, therefore, jump to the conclusion that God is not responsible for natural disasters because they sometimes affect Christians.