I’m sure Summer has been memorable for all friends, supporters and graduates of Moore College, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. It has been a harrowing time. We’ve been confronted by extremes of heat, fires, destruction and disruption. There has been a sense of uncertainty and concern for our future. For some, life has been out of their control, and fear has been far too real and personal. Sadly, citizens and firefighters have lost their lives. In the public discourse, we have heard many references to helplessness, pain, fear and difficulty in processing what has happened. Many have not had experiences quite like this before.
I was deeply moved by the words of one man stranded on a beach in Mallacoota, Victoria. He huddled with over 4,000 people forced to seek refuge close to the sea until the fires passed through their town. The flames had reached as far as the sand hills of the beach, and the day seemed like night. In the midst of this, he shared with a radio reporter that although he was an atheist, he’d “cried out to God and Jesus”, pleading to be saved from the horror. His experience in calling upon a God he didn’t really know isn’t uncommon in a crisis. Our collective experience of the fires this summer, and in recent days floods, must not be forgotten. While there are many possible responses, preeminent amongst these must be the reminder for all of us, that life is fragile and for an allotted time, and then of course comes death. But is that it? Is there future hope? As Christians, we know that there is. A certain hope centred on God’s rescue plan for his people through the eternal salvation offered in and through his Son.
While we would wish that the tragedies of the fires had not taken place this summer, we should pray that God is at work in all those reminded of their mortality. King David experienced many times of distress and the same sense of powerlessness in the face of his helplessness. His life was not under his control. In Psalm 30:1-3 he cries out:
I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
As we continue to deal personally with what we’ve experienced this summer, might we be quick to draw alongside the many traumatized people who we know. This is a time to love and support, and also perhaps to remind others of the eternal hope that we have in Christ.
I have been pleased to see that many churches have been active in supporting and standing with the victims of fires. I’m also mindful that many churches in regional centres and towns need our help at this time. Chief amongst these needs is the ongoing provision of well-trained men and women to minister in our regions and their towns. There are many towns across our nations that need well trained evangelists and teachers. Please continue to help us at Moore College to equip and send graduates to our regional towns and cities that need to hear the gospel as they face life’s uncertainties. We’ve now set up a fund to support those coming from or going to regional Australia. Please give generously to this fund. You can choose it in the dropdown menu on our donations webpage.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone my direct line at +61 (0)2 9577 9900 (please leave a message if I’m not available to pick up the phone).