In light of the recent typhoon in the Philippines There are many who ask why?, my daughter just the other day after learning of the typhoon and that we have a temple in Cebu Philippines asked why God would allow such a powerful and destructive storm to put at risk his people and the temple. It can be difficult to explain to children why such terrible tragedy happen.
I want to express that now is the time to think if our brothers and sisters who have been affected in this disaster. We live in a world where natural disasters are a fact of life, and it is up to us to help in any way we can, with what abundance or little means we have. we may not be able to contribute financially, but if the opportunity presents itself then we need to act on it.
Natural disasters occur all over the world. Here are some examples of ones in recent memory
On July 31st 1987 a Tornado struck my home town of Edmonton where I still live today. I was 6 years old at the time. The tornado remained on the ground for an hour, cutting a swath of destruction 40 kilometers (25 mi) long and up to a kilometer (0.6 miles, or 3000 feet) wide in places, and peaking at F4 on the Fujita scale. The tornado killed 27 people, injured more than 300 people, destroyed more than 300 homes, and caused more than $332.27 million CAD ($581 million in 2013 dollars) in property damage at four major disaster sites. The loss of life, injuries and destruction of property made it the worst natural disaster in Alberta’s recent history and one of the worst in Canada’s history.
More recently the July 2013 floods in Calgary and surrounding areas affected a lot of people as well. Four people were confirmed dead as a direct result of the flooding and over 100,000 people were displaced throughout the region. Some 2,200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) troops were deployed to help in flooded areas. Total damage estimates exceeded C$5 billion and in terms of insurable damages, is the costliest disaster in Canadian history at $1.7 billion. Receding waters gave way to a mammoth cleanup of affected areas, aided by a spontaneous volunteer campaign in which many home owners were assisted by complete strangers.
Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall. At least 1,833 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at $81 billion (2005 USD),nearly triple the damage brought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 kilometers (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010.
By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. Death toll estimates range from 100,000 to 159,000 to Haitian government figures from 220,000
These are just a few of the natural disasters in recent history (last 50 years) that affect our lives. They are all tragedy’s and all are unavoidable. Faced with the onslaught of mother natures pure power and fury it can be hard to have hope in a time of crisis.
Elder Stanley E Ellis of the seventy has said
The last days will be marked by many calamities and the rise of evil in the world. Against these threats the Lord and His prophets have given us counsel on how to be righteous and avoid spiritual pitfalls and evil. However, calamities—such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis—seem to strike randomly and devastate the just as well as the unjust. These calamities terrify many of us. But I have learned that we don’t have to be afraid of disasters. When we are grounded in the gospel and when we are prepared, we can weather any storm.
No matter where we are in the world we cannot escape the calamity’s foretold by prophets of old and modern day. But as I had the opportunity to explain to my daughter we have been given direction by Gods prophets and apostle that while we cannot escape the calamity and severe and destructive forces of our world we can be prepared. We talked about the little food storage we have and that the prophets have told us to have food storage. I had asked her how do you think those who listened to the prophets about food storage are doing in the Philippines vs those who did not heed that council. She said that she thinks they are doing better than those that don’t. She may be right. The destruction of homes and livelihoods of millions of people in the Philippines is a disaster on an enormous scale. There are many of us that have been affected.
So in the face of tragedy and natural disasters how do we cope and maintain hope. For that we can look to the story of Job.
13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath btaken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
in one day Job lost his servants, slaughtered and burned, he lost his livestock burned, his lost his camels, stolen, he lost his children dead from a severe storm. All this was just the beginning of Jobs trials. His response was not to give up hope but to bow down and praise God. He is described as “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” he was also very wealthy from the biblical description “His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.”
In Job chapter 2:7-13 we read
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the aashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
Job after all the losses he suffered now was afflicted with boils and soars some kind of disease or infection. His wife lost faith and hope, told him to curse God and die. He gently rebuked her saying in effect. Why are you angry do you not know that all weather righteous or not must suffer both evil and good in this life. His friends hearing of his affliction came to mourn and comfort him in his time of need. and the end of verse 13 it says that Job’s grief was very great, yet he did not give up hope. His friends stood with him and his wife when they were in need of comfort. We too must stand with those in need of comfort and understand and recognized that calamity and trials will come to all no matter how righteous we are.
We read in the doctrine and covenants “For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:89–91).
How do we deal with these tragedy, Gordon B Hinckley said
“We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. We in this Church have evidence enough of the penalties of disobedience in the examples of both the Jaredite and the Nephite nations. Each went from glory to utter destruction because of wickedness.
We know, of course, that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust (see Matt. 5:45). But even though the just die they are not lost, but are saved through the Atonement of the Redeemer. Paul wrote to the Romans, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord” (Rom. 14:8).
We can heed warnings. We have been told that many had been given concerning the vulnerability of New Orleans. We are told by seismologists that the Salt Lake Valley is a potential earthquake zone. This is the primary reason that we are extensively renovating the Tabernacle on Temple Square. This historic and remarkable building must be made to withstand the shaking of the earth.
We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8). Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come. We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day.”
If we Heed the council the scriptures and listen to the prophets, we will be prepared to face what ever adversity comes our way. We must also be prepared and ready to help those in need when tragedy strikes as it surely will. As always the most important thing is to pray for guidance, strength and the holy spirit to be with you what ever comes you way
source: wikipedia for disaster info.