Nepal Earthquake: Making Sense of the Tragedy

Thousands have died in the recent earthquakes in Nepal. Life in Nepal will not be the same for years to come. How should this calamity affect your future?

The Nepal Earthquake: 3 Lessons to Make Sense of the Tragedy
As of this writing, over 4,400 lives were suddenly wiped out when a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal this past Saturday, April 25. This number will undoubtedly rise as more bodies are recovered from the rubble. In an instant, a shaking earth destroyed buildings and roads and buried thousands of unsuspecting people going about their normal routine. Over 1.4 million people are now without food, shelter and hope.

Nepal was grossly unprepared for this tragedy—lacking buildings designed to withstand an earthquake of this magnitude and with little monetary or rescue resources to handle the aftermath of the quake. 

Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy. Tragedies like this should remind us how precious life is and how quickly life can be turned upside down. It’s at times like these that we should turn to the Bible. The Bible gives a unique perspective on tragedies, including difficult lessons we must learn.

Consider these three lessons we should consider:

1. This is not God’s world.

Many see tragedies like this as proof that there is no God. They reason that an all-powerful, all-loving God would not allow tragedies like this. But the Bible shows a different way we should look at it. Tragedies don’t occur because God doesn’t care. They are a result of human beings rejecting God. Essentially, this is not God’s world!

Those who died in Nepal did not bring this earthquake on themselves. Nepal wasn’t necessarily guiltier of sin than any other country. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in a beautiful garden and interacted directly with them (Genesis 2:8; Genesis 3:8). There were no earthquakes or other natural disasters in this garden. God was there and provided perfect protection and order. All God required of our first parents was that they live by His instructions. If they did, they would live in complete safety and happiness.

But when Satan appeared in the form of a serpent, he convinced them to reject God’s instructions and authority over their lives (Genesis 3:1-5). Because of this rejection, God removed them from the Garden of Eden and let them live in a world without His protection and influence (Genesis 3:23).

All human beings have been given the same free will to choose their own way of living. God has warned that rejecting His law would bring suffering and death (Genesis 2:17; Deuteronomy 30:15-20). Satan’s influence currently prevails over this world because man follows his way over God’s way (2 Corinthians 4:4). The suffering and anguish in Nepal is a result of living in a world cut off from God.

2. Unless we change, we will all perish.

Jesus Christ commented on two tragedies that occurred in His time on earth. One was the execution of several people by Pontius Pilate. Another was the accidental death of 18 people crushed to death by a falling tower (Luke 13:1-2).

The Nepal Earthquake: 3 Lessons to Make Sense of the Tragedy
Christ used these tragedies to stress an important point. He said that those who died were in the wrong place at the wrong time. God hadn’t singled them out for punishment. The point He drew from this was: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (verses 3 and 5).

Those who died in Nepal did not bring this earthquake on themselves. Nepal wasn’t necessarily guiltier of sin than any other country. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The point we must take to heart is that we will die eternally if we do not repent of our sins. That is the death we should be most worried about! Those who die in tragedies may have lost their temporary physical lives (which God says He will restore in a resurrection), but if we don’t repent and change, we will perish forever (Romans 6:23)!

3. Earthquakes are prophesied to increase and intensify during the last days.

Why are earthquakes (and other natural disasters) continually increasing around the world?

In the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus Christ prophesied that in the last days there would be “earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). As that time approaches, earthquakes will increase both in intensity and frequency. Read more in our article “Earthquakes in Prophecy.”

The Nepal Earthquake: 3 Lessons to Make Sense of the Tragedy
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, five of the deadliest earthquakes since 1900 have occurred in recent years:

  • Haiti (Jan. 12, 2010). Magnitude 7.0; 316,000 people killed. This was the deadliest earthquake of this century.
  • Indonesia (Dec. 26, 2004). Magnitude 9.1; 228,000 people killed in the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. This was the third largest earthquake since 1900.
  • China (May 12, 2008). Magnitude 7.9; 69,000 people killed and another 18,000 were presumed dead.
  • Pakistan (Oct. 8, 2005). Magnitude 7.6; over 86,000 people killed.
  • Iran (Dec. 26, 2003). Magnitude 6.6; 31,000 people killed.

As the weeks turn into months, the death toll from the recent earthquake in Nepal will undoubtedly increase, and possibly cause it to rank among the worst earthquakes in recent times.

The growing number of earthquakes is a sign that the return of Jesus Christ is drawing near. This should motivate us, more than ever, to heed Christ’s warning from point 2: repent!

What will you do now?

The Bible and history prove this simple statement: A world without God leads to suffering, tragedy and death.

As you see the resulting suffering of this tragedy, ask yourself this question: Do I want to continue to be a part of the suffering that comes from a life cut off from God? Or do I want to have a relationship with Him and live a life that is blessed and happy (Psalm 1) and help prepare for the peaceful world Jesus Christ will bring at His return?

We have prepared an insightful booklet to help our readers make sense of the suffering in our world. Please download and read our free booklet Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering?

Photo 1, photo 2 and photo 3 by Laxmi Prasad Ngakhusi/UNDP Nepal/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About the Author

Tim Groves

Tim Groves

Tim Groves attends the Jefferson, Georgia, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, where he serves as a deacon. 

He has been married to his wife, Teresa, for over 30 years. Together, they have two daughters and two sons and live in South Carolina. They moved there from Ohio in 1997 to flee the cold northern winters and allow him to do the things he really enjoys, like roaming though automobile junkyards looking for hidden treasures from times long past.

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Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
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Wonders of God's Creation
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