Was there a God?
I have a favourite short story called “Where is God’s Perfection?”
It is the story of a boy with multiple disabilities and his “salvation” by how other boys respond to his needs.
There is a line in the story where the father of the boy says to his audience, “When a child like this comes into the world, the perfection, which God seeks, is in the way people react to this child.”
Jesus, we are told in John chapter three, came into the world, not to condemn or judge but to bring salvation. Jesus brings and offers hope and healing and love to all.
And so, where was God in the Moree floods or in the story of the little boy. I believe that God is not in the event (1 Kings 19 — the earthquake, fire or flood) but in the people who respond to such events and those who are in need of hope, healing and love.
We have been most heartened by the efforts of so many people in the wider Christian family who have been like Jesus in these difficult events that have affected so much of eastern Australia in recent months.
The support we have received has been truly amazing. Calls, emails and letters have “flooded” in offering physical, material and prayer support.
We have been asked about specific prayer needs from many individual and congregations.
One 80-plus year old lady from Sydney sent a card saying, “Although it is not happening these days, I wish I could still use a broom and shovel briskly, but you can be sure we are thinking and praying for you and that all this wet will clear up fairly quickly.”
We have received money and offers of money from as far away as Western Australia to distribute to replace fences (one family farm had six kilometres of fence knocked over by flood waters) and to buy plants for those whose gardens were damaged or destroyed.
We’ve also been given household goods to distribute to those in need.
Our sister church in Narrabri sent money and people to be involved in the cleanup on weekends.
Another Uniting Church to send a donation to help with flood relief was Barham-Wakool, on the Murray River … where flooding occurred later in March.
Just recently a congregant, Mr Graham Kell from Lugarno Peakhurst, organised a work party of six to spend a number of days working with local families in Moree and surrounding areas — some 600 kilometres from their downtown Lugarno.
This work party worked with Moree congregants and other folk in Moree rehabilitating gardens, removing and dumping rubbish, moving furniture, taking up carpets, pulling the logs and grasses out of boundary fences and so forth.
They made a huge financial sacrifice in coming up. They gave their gift of time and effort and sowed what I would call “seeds of hope.”
As one family said to us after a work team had spent a couple of days working on the farm, “It helped us physically, mentally and emotionally and spiritually too.”
And the benefits for flood victims and helpers alike is this — God is here and working through us.
The son of one of the Sydney team wrote this to his father and gave it to him before starting the trip up to Moree: “It’s easy to think a mission trip is all about what you can do for other people, but just remember it is about what God can do!”
For me, this is just an eloquent way of saying what David said in Psalm 62:5: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone. My hope comes from him.”
In the wake of the floods the work with and for God continues.
The Rev. Rob Buchan is Resource Minister, Uniting Church North West Plains.