To you, O LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. (Joel 1:19)
I do not know why God permitted bush fires to ravage Victoria and take so many lives. God could have prevented those fires and he did not and I do not know why that is.
Thousands of years ago a Jewish prophet named Joel stood and watched as his own beloved land was devastated by natural disaster too. Joel was awestruck by the extent of the devastation. And in the face of it and the despair that accompanied it he sought strength in the only thing he could think of more awesome and powerful than the force of nature he had just seen unleashed; the God who created this world and who promises that one day he will bring into being a new creation where there will be no more mourning or crying or pain.
I do not know why God permitted bush fires to ravage Victoria. But I do know something of the character of God. The God who controls even those terrifying forces of nature loves us so much that, despite our indifference to him as a race, he watched his own precious son die in agony on a cross to bring us blessing and the hope of eternal life in the new creation. That is the nature of his love for us. And so while I cannot fathom how there can be purpose is what has happened in Victoria, I trust that God’s love for us is such that there must be.
He loves us and he is the most powerful force there is. He is more powerful than fire and in the resurrection of Jesus that followed the execution of Jesus, he shows himself to be more powerful even than death. And so if you are distressed by or somehow caught up in the tragedy in Victoria may I gently point you to the God who is love and power.
If you would like to talk with someone or have someone pray with you about these tragic events please do not hesitate to contact me.
Pastor: St Mark’s Anglican Church Pennant Hills