Yesterday was an awful day across southern and eastern Australia. Fires burning, searing heat, homes destroyed, lives lost. In a word: devastation. It easy to ask where is God in all this and I’m not pretending I’ve got any answers, just my ruminations.
A story from ABC Radio this week gives one suggestion:
“At that point, I was praying. I was an atheist. I was praying to God, praying to Jesus, turn the wind,” David Geoffrey, owner of Mallacoota’s Wave Oasis bed and breakfast, told Australia’s ABC News. *
He prayed to God as an atheist. He prayed that the wind would turn. And the wind did turn.
David Geoffrey said that even if people didn’t believe him, he knew what he’d prayed and that there was no other explanation for what had happened.
Where is God? He’s where he can hear us and he’s listening, even to those who don’t believe he exists.
Another story from Bairnsdale (again in Victoria), that was on the ABC TV News last night gives another suggestion:
With the devastation to life and property there have been many who have gotten in their cars and driven up from Melbourne, bringing with them all range of products: food, towels, furniture… you name it, they brought it. Their generous donations have led to there being four centres full of items that can be used by those in the Bairnsdale area who have lost so much; some have lost everything.
Those running the collection centres have said that there is so much stuff that they can take no more donations. It reminds me of a passage in the Old Testament:
Moses commands the people that they are to bring materials to help build the tabernacle (temple). And bring they do, to the point that the craftsmen come to Moses with a problem:
“The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.”
So Moses has to put out a new command for the people to stop bringing things.
This moment in the Old Testament is pretty much Israel at its finest. Often the ancient Jews are getting themselves into a pickle and not sacrificing anything much (or nothing at all) for God. Yet, in this incident their generosity towards God and his work is abundant – too abundant actually!
At the moment, there are a number of Australians who are mimicking ancient Israel at their best, in their attitude towards the work that needs to be done, to help others get back on track.
There’s a lot of “love your neighbour as you love yourself” going on.
Where is God?
He’s watching. He sees it all. He’s listening. He’s watching. And he’s waiting, hoping that we might return the favour. To listen to what he has to say. To watch what he will do. And what might God say?
I love you. I love the Australian people. I love their hearts of service.
I know you are suffering. I want to help you. Just ask…
Like David Geoffrey of Mallacoota, you don’t have to believe in God to give it a go. And truly, there’s no harm in trying.
Yours in solidarity,
Image Credit: Image sourced from Pinterest
* Quote sourced from: https://mashable.com/article/australia-bushfire-mallacoota/ on 04/01/20