I am a vicar in the Church of England. I've been a priest in the Church for 20 years. For most of that time, I've been struggling and grappling with questions about the nature of God.
the people most affected by the devastation and loss of life do not want intellectual theories about how God let this happen. He wrote, "If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier, or safer, or more confident in God?"
So the first big question is about control. Does God have a plan for each of us? Is God in control? Does God order each moment? Does the wind and the waves obey him? From time to time, one hears Christians telling the story of how God organized things for them, so that everything worked out all right. Some difficulty overcome, some illness cured, some trouble averted, a parking space found at a crucial time. I can remember someone saying this to me, with her eyes shining with enthusiasm at this wonderful confirmation of her faith and the goodness of God.
But if God can or will do these things -- intervene to change the flow of events -- then surely he could have stopped the tsunami. Do we have a local God who can do little things like parking spaces, but not big things like 500 mile-per-hour waves?
"Either God Is Responsible, Or He Isn't In Control"
In light of the post-quake poll (Smitten By God) saying most Americans don't blame God for natural disasters (though most Evangelicals do) I dug out this TED Talk from Rev. Tom Honey, who for that Technology-Entertainment-Design conference repurposed the sermon he gave after the '04 Southeast Asia tsunami. (Link to video)