In the aftermath of the tornado that struck the Oklahoma City region, allow me to make several observations.
God is absolutely sovereign over all of nature. He can himself send devastation. Or he may permit Satan to wreak havoc in the earth. Yes he can, if he chooses, intervene and prevent a tornado. In the end, we do not know why he makes one choice and not another. In the end, we must join the apostle Paul and say: "How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36).
Whether or to what extent Satan may have had a hand in what occurred we can never know. What we can know and must proclaim is that he can do nothing apart from God's sovereign permission. Satan is not ultimately sovereign. God alone is.
Great natural disasters such as this tell us nothing about the comparative sinfulness of those who are its victims. Please do not conclude that the residents of Moore, Oklahoma, are more sinful than any other city that has not as yet experienced such devastation. Please do not conclude that we are more righteous than they because God has thus far spared us from such events. The Bible simply won't let us draw either conclusion.
Events such as this should remind us that no place on earth is safe and that we will all one day die. Whether by a peaceful natural death at the age of 90, car accident at 15, or slow battle with cancer at any age, we will all likewise die. The only ultimately and eternally safe place to be is in the arms of our heavenly Father from which no tornado or earthquake or tsunami or cancer or car wreck can ever snatch us or wrench us free.
Dr. Sam Storms is Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, www.bridgewaychurch.com. He has authored 22 books.