How should we respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Below are some words from a sermon Pastor John Piper preached on April 11, 2004:
"But just as much as we need a merciful Savior, we need a sovereign Lord. If Christ is merciful to us, but doesn’t have the sovereignty to rule the forces that threaten us, what good will his mercy be? Our lives are fragile and vulnerable in hundreds of ways. What will happen in Iraq—another Viet Nam, or worse? What will happen between Israel and the Palestinians and the global tension that situation creates? What will happen with North Korea and its nuclear threat? When will the next big 9-11 to come on American soil? What will happen to my health? Or the health of my children? My spouse? My parents? (Little children ask: What if mommy and daddy die?) What natural disasters will befall me or my family? What car accident or sniper or kidnapper may turn my world upside down? We are fragile and vulnerable—all of us.
If you are honest, you know that you cannot protect yourself from these things. And if you devote your life to trying, you will become a pitiful old man or woman barricaded and lonely behind the illusion of self-made security.
In other words, we need a sovereign Lord over the world. We need one who rules over Iraq and Israel and Korea and terrorists and disease and disaster and accidents—right down to the details of our lives. Not that he would always spare us calamity—the Bible doesn’t teach that he will—but if he is merciful, he will not let any calamity happen to us that he did not design for our ultimate good.
My point this morning is that Jesus Christ is both merciful and sovereign. Because he both died for our sins (so he is merciful) and rose from the dead (so he is sovereign)."