Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:4-5
A friend of mine said something yesterday about Katrina being the wrath of God on New Orleans, a la Sodom and Gomorrah. I suspect many Christians entertained this thought to some extent. After all, New Orleans is known for immorality, licentiousness, sensuality, greed, voodoo, crime, etc. There’s a reason people go to Mardi Gras, and it has nothing to do with little plastic beads.
Whether or not Katrina was the wrath of God does not, IMHO, mitigate any Christian duty we have to alleviate the suffering of those hurt by it. I don’t know that God every warns His people to first think real hard about _why_ a particular thing happened to a particular person. We’re called to do good as we have opportunity. In fact, it is possible that one purpose God had in this is for the church to care for those in need.
I’m not sure that my friend was wrong in his assessment of this hurricane. But if we focus on trying to figure out why God sent this destruction, we’ll miss a more important point. In comparison to the holiness of God, my town of Bells, TX is not significantly less wicked than New Orleans, Las Vegas, or San Francisco. I deserve this judgment, and worse, for my own sins. The question is not why God destroyed New Orleans, but why He chose not to destroy us all.
God sent this. “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7, ESV). A Christian response is to recognize that God is behind this, comfort those we can, and call ourselves and others to repentance.