“I will send fire…I will break down…I will destroy…” Amos 1:4-5
Usually the prophets bring news of God’s judgment. Like an Asian parent, in the Old Testament, God is often addressing/punishing the people for what they are not doing right, instead of noticing and rewarding them for what they are doing right. I guess if they are doing right, there’s no need to change their behavior, but if they are not doing right, they need a stern talking to and some consequences. I don’t know if we understand God like this in modern times, except maybe some fundamentalists who feel like natural disasters are somehow punishments from God for the sins of certain people. I feel like because there was so little understanding of science back in those times, people tended to attribute things to God so that they can make sense of their world, especially the things that were scary or life-threatening.
In every age, there’s a tremendous desire to understand why bad things happen. Back in Old Testament times, people seemed to think it was because “the gods were angry.” It’s good that we don’t have those old ways, and that we can look to God’s ultimate revelation of Himself through Jesus who died on a cross to restore our broken relationship and make us new creations in Him. As to why bad things happen, we can make guesses but I think it’s beyond our comprehension. We can say that it’s because we live in a fallen world, which is true, but ultimately, like Job, we are not given definitive answers. We need to hang on to the faith that God is good and holds everything in His hands. As for us, it would probably be most productive to focus on the areas that we can make a difference rather than trying to come up with a good guess as to why bad things happen.