Every time Larry King has a Christian leader on his show, he asks where God is in disasters. And most of the time, the leader responds by saying “God didn’t cause it, He let it happen to protect our free will!” Larry King always seems dissatisfied to hear this. And so he should, because it’s a pansy response (and it’s false, too).
Consider Luke 13:1-5:
There were some present at that very time who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He answered them, Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Jesus mentions two incidents where people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The first group was slaughtered by Pilate while apparently offering temple sacrifices. The second group was killed by the seemingly random collapse of a tower. And so Jesus asks, do you think these victims were singled out because they were especially rotten? No, he answers in His authoritative way, they weren’t any worse than you. So quit screwing around and repent, because death and judgement are coming for you, too! Note that Jesus doesn’t lament how the victims got a bad rap. Nor does He explain why it happened; such things are not revealed to us (Deut 29:29). He just tells them to repent or perish.
God authorizes all things to happen, including calamities (Is 45:7, Amos 3:6, Lam 3:38, Proverbs 16:33, Romans 9, etc), but He does no evil (Deut 32:4, Ps 5:4, Ps 19:9, James 1:13). He made us and can do with us as He pleases (Is 29:16, Romans 9:21, Job 38). We are all evil and deserve condemnation (Romans 3:11-18). So, when we see “bad things” happen, we should remember God’s mercy and his infinite blessings, and we should repent (Rom 2:4-5).