While the event referrred to was the 1900 Galveston Flood, it is applicable to any natural disaster or great tragedy in life.
But for what reason was it allowed by the Lord for this terrible event to occur? Was it, perhaps, due to the sins of this town's inhabitants? Let us not, however, rush with our judgments, especially since the ways of the Lord are often unknown to us. So let us better draw a lesson for ourselves from the calamity that has occurred.
Once the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5). It seems that your devastated city and those who perished in it were not greater sinners than those who remained alive. The first and the latter sinned, but the judgment of the Lord has already fallen on some, while the others the Lord suffers, waiting if they might come to repentance (cf. 1 Peter 3:20).
The merciful Lord unceasingly and in various ways calls us sinners to repentance. The calling voice of God is heard in our conscience as well, and in the Word of God, and in natural phenomena, and in the circumstances of our life. But often we reach such a state of senselessness that we do not pay attention to any of that, since we have that in front of our eyes at all times. Then the Lord, in order to awaken us from the sinful dream, and make us sober, and bring us back to our senses, uses extraordinary actions, even such as the kind of misfortune that befell your city last year.
- from "Instructions and Teachings'