“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” (12:7 NIV 2011)
The Japan earthquake disaster is still unfolding. Its death toll currently exceeds 9800, and the tsunami-damaged nuclear plant at Fukushima continues to leak radiation.
Was God disciplining the Japanese people? If yes, what was their sin for such a devastating punishment?
I’ve lived in Japan, and I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world. As a group, Japanese are among the best people whom I’ve ever met. The rest of the world has much to learn from the Japanese about politeness and working hard.
I can’t conceive of a sin so grievous committed by the Japanese people to deserve this “discipline” from God. Therefore, I see no lessons to learn in the Japan earthquake disaster.
If God had wrecked havoc with one of the former Communist countries–where lying, cheating, and stealing abound–I could say, “See, if you sin, God will destroy you”.
For discipline to be effective, children must know why they are being punished.
Otherwise, the children will resent their parent. They will not learn the important rules of life that they violate, and they will simply regard life as unfair.
Similarly, because God chooses to communicate with us in such ridiculously vague ways, God’s so-called “discipline” often seems horribly arbitrary.