Bad things happen.
Sometimes really bad things happen. Sometimes they happen to us personally and sometimes to whole countries and even our whole planet.
This week we’ve seen horrific scenes of bushfires burning across Australia – so close our air was hazy, and we could smell them. Lives have been tragically lost. Many people have lost homes and all their possessions in the fires. Communities have lost schools and whole streets. And in the midst of this, our normal, individual, personal tragedies have been unfolding. May God have mercy! This destruction can feel like it is of “Biblical proportions”! Where is God in all this?
That question is never easy to answer, and glib answers are worse than none.
To those who see in this destruction signs of the imminent end of the world, Jesus gives us this answer: Don’t be fooled! (Lk 21:8) “No one knows, when that day and hour will come — neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. (Mt 24:36)
To those worrying about what might happen, Jesus gives us this answer: Don’t panic! Don’t be terrified. Don’t be alarmed. (Lk 21:9)
One day all crying will cease. The prophet Isaiah (65:17-25) promises us that God is redeeming the world. One day the promise of Christmas will be fulfilled: Joy to the World, the Saviour reigns! Let Earth receive her king! One day there will be no sickness, no cruelty, no manipulation and nothing to fear. We live between Christmas and the second coming of Christ. We live in a world that is passing away.
Today, let us hold onto faith. Let us keep doing the spiritual disciplines commanded of us in Ephesians 6:11-18: put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth and carry the shield of faith. Our faith is something that we can practice every minute of every day. “Not a hair of your head will perish”, Jesus promises. “Stand firm, and you will win life.”
Yours in Christ