First, I want to express my sorrow over the situation in New Zealand. I understand how tragedy can bring up painful questions especially in light of such an awful catastrophy. Is this situation a judgment from God? I don't know how any of us could answer that honestly. I will say though that these verse came to my mind.
John chapter 9 in the Message translation
1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" 3-5Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
In the NIV
1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
I think this is relevant. Unfortunately, philoshophical conversations about God's role in these situations usually leave more questions than answers. But, I am at peace knowing God is certainly all powerful and in control. When tragedy strikes, he uses those events. Some of the greatest acts of generosity, compassion and caring come in the quake of tragedy. It is to motivate God's people to work.
I gain some peace knowing that any temporary pain we feel now will be tiny compared to our relationship here and after our physical death.