God intends for us to learn from the natural world. Some have even called nature “God’s second book” because it has so much to teach us.

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?” – Job 12:7-9

The Bible assures us that creation reveals the work of God.

“Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” – Romans 1:20

This means that when we look at nature, we glimpse His majestic power and intricate artistry. God has put them on display for all to witness… every day!

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

It’s amazing to think about, really. But what does it mean when nature frightens us? When earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes hit, how do we relate to God then? Is God behind those natural horrors as well?

When disaster strikes, many find it difficult to reconcile the pictures of destruction with the idea of a loving, caring God. Some even view these events as God’s judgment upon the evil of the world. Religious leaders from across the spectrum use tragedies as opportunities to speculate wildly. The phrase “divine judgement” and “retribution” are tossed about, sparking controversy and outrage.

We tend to think that life here should be fair because God is fair. But God is not life here. He is the Author of life and the Hope of life. A painter, while “seen” in their painting, is not the painting itself. And if their enemies have the ability to spoil it, they may not be seen in the painting at all. And so it is with God’s creation.

Life here is like the backside of a tapestry, its threads all jumbled with indistinct, muted colors and clashing patterns. We can sort of make out the picture. But it’s not until we get on the front side of the tapestry, the other side of life here, that we experience the full design, the reason for every knotted red and gray and black and white thread. Only then can we truly see what the Master Artist has created.

No matter what we may face in this life we can “know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). In all circumstances, we can know that nothing—neither disease, drought, devil or death—will be able to separate us from the love of God.