Most Christians believe that God is omnipotent. That is, they believe God is all powerful and therefore ‘in control’. God is in control of the universe, and therefore the world. I think most Christians (except maybe the Episcopalians) would accept that statement as a fact.
Weather, then, as part of the world, is also under God’s control. Now whether or not God controls every cloud or simply sets the stage and allows clouds and winds and rain and such to fulfill his general will is not really the issue; the fact is, that given the premise that God is in control because he is all powerful, when storms erupt and destroy human structures and lives, God is somehow or other responsible because he either sets in motion the events to take place or allows them to take place and could, if he wished, stop them.
An absent God who ‘sets the clock and lets it run’ may be a comfort to some but it has no place in Christian theology. We are left, then, with two facts: 1) God is in control; and 2) God allows disasters (if not outright causing them).
That discomfiting fact causes Christians all kinds of problems, I think we would all confess. ‘How can a loving God allow such a thing’ or ‘God sent this as punishment for sin’ or ‘God is holding us accountable’ are the statements that inevitably surface at such times.
Is there a way out of this dilemma? Is there a solution to the problem of theodicy? Yes. And here it is- found in a little verse tucked away in a little story secluded back in the Old Testament where people scarcely read anymore:
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice (1Ki 19:11-12).
God speaks- but he doesn’t speak in violence. Winds, earthquakes, fires… they all happen- but they aren’t the voice of God. If you wish to hear God’s voice in disasters you have to listen past the noise. If you wish to find a solution to the problem of theodicy, you have to remove yourself to a quiet place so that you can actually hear God’s voice.
When bad things happen we’re usually so busy crying out and lamenting and screaming at God that were he even to say something the noise of our own ideas would drown him out. That’s why we don’t ever hear ‘why’ this or that happens. If you wish to hear God speak, be quiet. Then you may learn something. You may even hear an answer to life’s most pressing questions.
Or in the words of Habakkuk-
וַֽיהוָ֖ה בְּהֵיכַ֣ל קָדְשׁ֑וֹ הַ֥ס מִפָּנָ֖יו כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃