Excerpts from Toby Sumpter’s excellent post on Haiti’s tragic earthquakes — and, consequently, all things under the sun:
God is the Creator and sustainer of all things. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). “In these last days [God has] spoken to us by His Son whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds… and upholding all things by the word of His power…” (Heb. 1:2-3) “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord do all these things” (Is. 45:7). This includes earthquakes. While this is perhaps the hardest part of the answer, it ultimately rests in the conviction that God is love and that this love is supremely evidenced in the horror of the cross of Jesus Christ. Christians refuse to get their definitions of love, justice, and mercy from the newspapers, Hollywood, or sappy vampire romance novels. We insist that these and all other virtues must be grounded in the person of Jesus crucified. So we do not begin with an abstract notion of “God is love” or even that “God is good.”
God hates evil and suffering, but God is not bound by them. God is free.
He is free to overcome evil and suffering through bending it to His good purposes.
God hates evil and suffering in itself, because it is the remnants of the old sin cursed world that still haunts all of us. But God is free to use this ugliness as He pleases, and He does.
God does save lives and others He takes. “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive: I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from my hand” (Dt. 32:39). He is the God of the living and the dead: the life of every living thing is in His absolute control (Job 12:10). He takes the lives of those who are wicked and in high handed rebellion, and He brings His own people home to rest in His presence until the resurrection.
In this, He is absolutely just and merciful.