Jesus warns us not to see the events in Joplin as somehow the wrath of an angry God. Evil came into the world not by God's willing it; but through the devil and human sin.
Natural disasters suggest that our planet itself is in "rebellion" against the original order of a loving God. That rebellion seen in nature can be said to mirror the rebellion of the human heart. We experience nature's rebellion because Adam and Eve's original sin made all creation subject to futility. Ultimately, God does not cause but rather permits such disasters in order to shake the consciences of insensitive people who see so many in need but do nothing.
Jesus' death on the cross shows us that God stands with us in all our suffering. His death demonstrates that despair, destruction, death will not have the last word: rather the transformative power of his resurrection will define the human project as one anchored in hope.
The present tornado crisis in Joplin is an opportunity for us to open our hearts and show our solidarity not only to the people of Joplin but to all peoples.
Paul Kokoski, Ontario, Canada