Human suffering is all around us. Japan is but a recent example. That means it is time for someone to step forward and suggest that this is really God's punishment. Pat Robertson claimed Haiti was punished by the earthquake. Recently, Glenn Beck and Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara (link here) suggested that God's was exercising divine punishment with the earthquake/tsunami. The governor later rescinded his comment.
I do not believe natural disasters are punishment from God. This includes ones on a smaller scale: cancer, death, unemployment, love lost. Scripture states we all have (and still do) sin (Romans 3:23.) Scripture further says that Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15.) Jesus goes further and claims that disasters offer a chance for God love to shine (example John 9:1-3.) Jesus avoids the cause/effect punishment scenario. If we were to be punished for our offenses, Jesus would have come and French-fried all of us. We would be nothing but an oily spot on the couch.
This is not to say that there are not consequences to pack-a-day habits, workaholic marriages, and neglect. It is to say that God loves his children and his children include all of us. Ones who seem unworthy and ones who think they are worthy. God never wastes a creation, a person being the crown jewel of his creations.
I have come to value the phrase, "I don't know." I don't know why random stuff happens. I trust Jesus Christ in that my focus should move from blame and speculation to the expectation of God's goodness in the face of what I don't understand. And that goodness requires I participate (my role is not one of spectator or speculator.) My prayers and my financial support go to Japan.
"God, manifest yourself gloriously."