I spent the weekend at the Assembly Standing Committee in Sydney. I had one eye on the work at hand and another on the unfolding bushfire situation. I spent yesterday morning at home putting some things in order should we be affected by a bushfire in the coming days.
Some of us, particularly in rural and regional Australia, just can’t take a break at the moment; a deeply challenging drought that in many places is the worst in memory, and then bushfire.
In times like this when I am struggling to comprehend events, when I am frustrated or upset, the scriptures come to mind. I came across this passage in the book of Isaiah.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).
Despite events that are demoralising, the Lord offers strength, particularly in these tough times.
Some of the reporting in the news has been graphic with lives lost, homes destroyed and memories turned to ashes. While I pray that this is the last extreme weather event we hear of this summer, it would seem we have a tough few months ahead.
I commend the efforts of the unsung heroes in these situations; the SES teams and their supporters, the police and rural fire brigade, Uniting Church ministers and agency personnel on the ground.
Behind the scenes there is a hive of activity supporting those directly responding to the fires and those affected by them; whether it be a bed and a meal for the night, or an ear and a shoulder to cry on.
Friends, I urge you to pray for those who are suffering, that they may find hope and strength in Christ. We also pray for the emergency services personnel who are assisting, making a significant sacrifice. May they stay safe and return home to their families.