by Chris Forder
As you will all know, our country is suffering big time with the bush fires. Hundreds of homes lost and lives have been taken by these devastating blazes. I just spoke to my best friend today (Thursday), I have known him since I was like two. His house is in Nowra and at this point he doesn’t know if it will still be there after Saturday.
Many thousands of Christians and churches have been praying for relief. So, where is God in all of this? Where is our loving Father? These are good questions. And the first thing we can take comfort in is that God is grieving over this with us. He does not delight in tragedy. Second, we need to remember that this sadly is what life is like outside the garden. We live in a world that is broken by sin and fires like this really remind us of how destructive sin and it’s consequences are. But even in all of this, two truth’s remain: God is in control and God is good. As Christians, God not only gives us comfort when we seek him (Praise God) but he also gives us answers. The Bible gives us as least eight reasons as to why suffering and hardship come.
· Genesis 3:1-19 – Suffering comes into our lives because we have sinned and now live in a fallen world. Not only our personal lives but creation itself is broken. This is why we long for the restoration of all things (Romans 8). Heaven will be awesome!
· Job – Suffering comes into our lives and we don’t always know why. Job never found out why he suffered so much.
· Joel – God uses suffering to bring people back to himself. To quote Rick Warren, “God wastes nothing.”
· John 9:1-12 – Suffering comes into our lives in order to show God’s glory.
It can have nothing to do with personal sin.
· Romans 1:18-30 – Suffering comes into our lives as a punishment for sin. God hands us over to sin’s consequences.
· Hebrews 12:7-11 – For God’s people, suffering comes into our lives as discipline.
· James 1:2-4 – Suffering comes into our lives to test our faith and grow our trust and closeness to God.
· 1 Peter 5:8-9 – Suffering comes into our lives when Satan attacks us.
Now, not all of these are happening at once of course. But God can convict us of one in particular from time to time. So, why have the bush fires come? Which one of these is the reason? I don’t think it is helpful to try and figure it out. But, we can have confidence that God is still in control and God is still good. So, let’s then simply pray for God to intervene. Pray for God to send rain and better weather conditions. Because God is a loving God who loves people. So, pray that he will rescue us from the fires but also that he will use them to bring many people from spiritual death to life in Christ.
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