Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters are all in God's hands. Why does God allow these destructive "acts of God"? We all understand these are acts of God and not merely random natural disasters. In Psalm 148:8 the Psalmist praises God for His awesome creation. Included in that praise, he praises God "for fire and hail, snow and vapours, stormy wind fulfilling His Word." In Psalm 107:25-30 we learn that "He commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths. Their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them into their desired haven."
They are all a part of God's curse on man for sin. After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God cursed them and the earth. "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art and unto the dust shalt thou return." Genesis 3:17-19 Paul explains the consequences of sin in his Epistle to the Romans, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. "Romans 8:22-23
Satan is behind them, but God allows him to destroy only that which is in His sovereign plan. Satan is the cause of many natural tragedies, but they are all permitted under the sovereign hand of God. Satan can do nothing harmful to God's children without God's express permission. That's illustrated in the story of Job in chapter 1. Read this interesting true story of the godliest man on the face of the earth in that day. Satan slandered God by telling Him that Job served God only because of God's goodness to him. He dared God to touch Job with tragedy and see how long his faith lasted. God permitted Satan to touch him with tragedy and Job came through beautifully. Never forget, Christian friend, that when God allows Satan to touch you with tragedy, God has His hands on the controls and allows only that which is best for you and that brings glory to God. The rest He restrains. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." Psalm 76:10
No matter how difficult it is to believe this, God uses storms in His mixture of events to teach us and bless us. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 On his way to Rome, Paul got caught in a terrible storm at sea. Read the exciting story in Acts 27. In the midst of the storm, God spoke to Paul a word of encouragement, assuring him that no life would be lost. God kept His word and all got to shore safely swimming and holding on to pieces of wood.
God uses disasters to get our attention. When we as a nation forget God and try to drive Him out of our lives, God in His love will allow whatever it takes; a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, to gain our attention.
God sometimes uses His acts to destroy those who reject Him and attempt to fight against Him. "God is jealous and the Lord revengeth; the Lord will take vengeance and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can abide the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire and the rocks are thrown down by Him." And then the prophet Nahum gives a word of comfort to God's people. "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust Him." Nahum 1:2-7
We read in Genesis 6-8 that about five thousand years ago, the evil of mankind got so bad that God destroyed the entire human race except for Noah and his family who found grace in His sight. God instructed Noah to build an ark for his family and for the animals and they were kept alive through the flood. Skeptics scorn such an event, even though the fossils throughout the earth evidence a universal flood. See www.answersingenesis.org which is one of several good sites on this subject.
In II Peter 2-3 we are warned by Peter that as God destroyed the sinful world with a flood, so one day He is going to destroy this same earth with a fire. The Apostle John also writes about it in Revelation 21:1
Ultimately, God uses storms for His glory. The most important truth in the universe is that God deserves glory and someday every knee will bow before Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Though we usually don't understand what God is doing at the time, we can trust Him that He is allowing what is best for us and what will bring glory to Him.
Because God has power over storms; He also has power to cause them to cease.In Luke 8:22-26 we read the story of Jesus with His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat. In the midst of the Sea, a violent storm rose up and the disciples were fearful of being drowned. Jesus was asleep. In desperation they wakened Him crying, "Master, we perish!" Jesus, God of creation in human form, stilled the storm with the words, "Peace; be still! Immediately the Sea was calmed.
The lesson for all of us is that if Jesus is in the boat of our lives, He speaks peace to our troubled hearts, even in the midst of the worst of storms. Is He living and ruling in your life? Do you know His peace? Listen to His promise to Christians. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7