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Summary: This sermon is a pastoral sermon exploring the question where is God when disaster hits. It was written following the bushfires in Victoria, Australia.

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How have you coped with the week?

Early in the week I was wondering if this was a nightmare?

But as the week went on the reality was hitting home.

Already 180 lives lost and coroner has allowed for up to 300 deaths..

A national news reader that I watched daily dead.

A town completely flattened.

Over 1000 homes lost.

Then on the same piece of land some 2300 kms North

People living between Townsville and Cairns have been affected by flooding

Around 3000 homes have been affected

And with on the spot coverage of events

We can’t hide from the destruction,

the suffering,

the faces of despair.

It is beamed into our homes through the televistiona and internet.

This morning when I went to check on the news there was a picture of a grown man in tears as he looked at the area where his house once stood. It looked like dumbfounded tears.

And just about everyone has an opinion about what is happening or should have happened.

And so in the next few moments lets hear also from God and see how he views life when events like this occur.

Lets begin by looking at Isaiah 55:8-9 which says

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the LORD.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

One question that we are often faced with is if God is so loving why do these things happen?

Why do seemingly people get hurt or harmed, whilst obviously evil people get off lightly?

There is no form answer for this in scripture.

And it is important to remember there are many things that will remain a mystery about God.

And whilst we may have many questions not all of them will be answered in the ways we like.

Often we would rather tell God how he should love rather accept his approach to how he loves.

And the the best way to make sense of what is happening

Is not to ignore God but to listen to him.

To worship regularly, read and study his scriptures frequently.

So that we are gaining His perspective on life,

and this means at times allowing Him to open up your mind to a different way of thinking.

Now some people would have you believe that the disastrous events like the fires and the floods are nothing more than God’s judgement on a group of people or the world for a specific sin.

They grab hold of a text like Micah 5, which concludes with

15 I will take vengeance in anger and wrath

upon the nations that have not obeyed me

and Psalm 106:8

18 Fire blazed among their followers;

a flame consumed the wicked.

or parts of Revelation

And there is one major problem with such an approach

Is that it only portrays God as some angry fellow

who hates humanity and only wants to squash and annihilate anyone who is not like Him.

Unfortunately many people have this view of God.

And this includes people in the church and people outside the church.

But such an approach ignores huge slabs of scripture.

It is not the complete picture.

Scripture from both the Old and New Testament demonstrates something different about God, especially during times of suffering.


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