Making Sense of Disaster


natural disasters

Making Sense of Disaster

19 January 2011 Hits:2488

I’m sure we’ve all been watching over the past few weeks as many parts of Australia have been devastated by floodwaters.  People have lost their lives, their livelihood and their possessions.  It’s a tragedy of unparalleled proportions in Australia’s history.

Something that always fascinates me in times like this is how we try and find answers to “why?”  Why has this happened?  Of course, the natural answer to that question is that the floods have happened because there’s been extremely heavy rain over a long period of time.  The ground is saturated, and so all subsequent rain is run-off.  The dams are overflowing; the water has to go somewhere.

Others, predictably, have attributed the floods to the judgment of God.  One preacher said the Queensland floods happened because Kevin Rudd spoke against Israel (and Kevin lives in Queensland so that’s why God flooded it).  If that’s the case, the floods should have stopped at the border instead of inundating northern New South Wales!

But “why?” is the wrong question.  In fact, the Bible rarely answers the “whys” of life.  It is more interested in “what?”  There’s a fascinating story about this in Luke chapter 13.

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

In these verses, Jesus deals with “what” rather than “why.”  You see, people in Jesus’ day were no different to people in Australia today.  They were looking for reasons why tragedy had taken place and had come up with the answer – it was because those people were “worse sinners” and “more guilty” than others.  That’s why God judged them!  But Jesus told them they were wrong and then clearly tells us what our response to tragedy needs to be– we need to repent and get right with God.  To repent means to change our mind, behaviour, and direction concerning God, Jesus and the way we live!

Times of disaster like the floods affecting much of Australia right now can be a wake-up call for all of us.  They are a reminder of what really matters.  Human life – as well as material possessions – can be so easily lost. How important it is for all of us to live lives that make a difference to others rather than living selfishly. How important it is for all of us to be ready to meet our Maker whenever that might be!

To be continued…

If you would like to make a donation to the Bayside Church Flood Relief Appeal please click on the following link.  All donations over $5 are Tax Deductible.  Click here.


Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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