The earthquake in Japan is a chance for parents to bring up the philosophical issue that needs to be addressed: Why does God allow evil and suffering?
Two posts are helpful.
Evil and suffering is “everyone’s” problem. That is to say, we can give the Christian answer but athiests and Buddists and others must give their answer also. Ultimately those answers are less satisfying.
And of course, Desiring God provides some helpful, biblical, answers for us. Of particular interest:
God does nothing without an infinitely wise and good purpose:
He is wise and brings disaster (Isaiah 31:2);
The Lord is good (Psalm 100:5);
All his works are right and his ways are just (Daniel 4:37).
Therefore, God has a good and all-wise purpose for the heart-rending calamity in Japan on March 11, 2011 that appears to have cost tens of thousands of lives.
Indeed, he has hundreds of thousands of purposes, most of which will remain hidden to us until we are able to grasp them at the end of the age:
How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33);
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Use this opportunity to bring up the issue of evil with your older children.