Have you ever experienced a disaster, a real one, where many people are killed or injured? I mean actually experience it, not read about it, or watch it on television.
The aftermath of such an up close and personal experience can be gut-wrenching, and questions can arise from it that threaten the very foundations of one's beliefs.
How can a loving God allow this happen? Where is the compassion? These are things you might wonder about, but if you look closely, the compassion and love is always there.
A loving God would be remiss if He or She wouldn't remind us that life on this earth is indeed temporary, and that relying on the creatures of the earth; our friends, our families, our loved ones for our happiness is turning our backs on Him (or Her).
Therefore, to be reminded of this is a compassionate act, because we fall asleep in our comfortable lives, accumulating as much as we can for ourselves.
We fall asleep and forget about the important things, things like the next world, and the suffering in "this" world in places we ignore, as if half the kids in the world don't go to bed hungry every night.
And when we turn our backs on those less fortunate, we delude ourselves into thinking that we are somehow blessed, and that we are special, more so than others.
God has ways of reminding us that our blessedness and our importance are no more than wishful and selfish thinking.
A little illness, an unexpected accident, some bad luck will usually straighten us out right away.
Some, however, need additional persuasion, and for those, God goes to great lengths to awaken them.
Some can't be awakened at all, unfortunately, and for them who are so caught up with the world and themselves that no amount of suffering will change their attitudes, God allows them to continue within their delusions on earth.
The pay back is immense however, because the earthly days fly by as quickly as a flash of lightening, and as David said, "Be thou not afraid when a man shall be made rich, for when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away, neither riches, nor joy, nor glory.
" When we are asleep and ignorant of the world around us, we quickly forget that life on this earth involves suffering, perhaps not for us immediately, but for almost everybody else in the world, and it even catches up with us sooner or later.
We also conveniently forget that our puny egos are as nothing compared to God, yet we are caught up in them, in our important ness and our influence.
The truth that we are empty is what we run away from, and try to escape from; the truth that we are nothing.
And we forget one more thing; that everything on earth changes constantly - that which we rely on will run through our fingers like water.
How could a compassionate God have it otherwise? Then we would not be reminded of Him (or Her).
So we should never question disaster.
We can question whether there is a God, or what God is or what He or She represents, and we can question why things happen the the manner that they do, but we can never question our hardships, because hardship forges the characters of all of us, men and women alike, and without hardship, we would all soon fall fast asleep.