Greetings! I think the “Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis might be of help. I think “Miracles” by him may also help as he includes a chapter or two on “nature”.
From personal experience, I can maybe add a little. I can’t say that I suffered like the people from the Tsunami. However, my family has a hereditary predisposition to various forms of mental illness. I have endogenuous depression. That means that I feel pretty awful at times for no reason. It’s just brain chemistry. It’s not something i can really help (there are things, including my own actions that can lessen it, but i can’t make it go away). So in a sense, I’m suffering innocently (I’m not innocent, I’m a sinner, but I mean that I didn’t do any particular thing to get depression, since i basically have had it all my life).
I would argue (though I could be way off) that because of the fall, human beings, being contigent beings, were cut off in such a way from God that disease and other such things could enter the picture (I think in the scriptures Jesus also points to the devil as being the author of disease, though I’m not sure if he means some or all). So my illness in part arises from the human condition of being turned away from God.
The thing is, God has really used that to help me. I am often too proud and judgemental and then I have a fit of depression and I am reminded that I should be more humble and loving towards others. My wife even said that it was my depression which helped “win her” because of how God has used it to help me to overcome various faults. Of course I’m far from perfect. My point is that God has taken a rather nasty thing in my case and brought good from it.
rmw82 raises a wonderful point. I would also add that killing the son of God was the worst thing in history. Yet, God, brougt love, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life from it. So God can take the worst thing and bring good.
It may not be the exact same thing, but if you can get ahold of “The Bells of Nagasaki” by Takashi Nagai, that book could also help. Nagai, a convert to Catholicism from atheism was a professor at the Nagasaki medical college when the atomic bomb fell. It exploded almost directly over the Cathedral there, killing thousands, including Nagai’s wife. Many Catholics were troubled, believing that God was punishing them and some even though there family members who had died in that blast were in hell! Nagai noted that Japan surrendured on August 15th (Mary’s Assumption) and he drew two pictures, one of Mary going to heaven on a cloud and one of his wife floating to heaven on a MUSHROOM cloud! He argued that those killed in the blast were a sacrifice to show the horrors of war and to end war, and far from being in hell, he believed that they had been taken into heaven. It was their innocence, similar to the innocence of Christ, that made them such an offering. On one side, this is a very harsh way to look at things, but on the other, from my own experience, I have found that my own little suffering have been of some help, and were I worthy (which I am not) to be taken in such a way, I would be willing to (with God’s grace).
I hope this is of some help! God bless!
peace in Christ,