Click here for more on our series on Hard Things.
Prayer is certainly one of the hard things, especially answered and unanswered prayer. My father was a faithful member of the congregation of the Church of the Venerable Here where he held several offices including Vicar’s Warden. One of my earliest memories was walking with him from my house near Saltwell Park to the fine Gothic building on Sunderland Road where I was a choir boy. Later he joined the congregation of St. George’s and the Rev. Underhill where I was also a choir boy until I was required to perform National Service in the RAF. However my father became a lapsed Christian at this time and according to my brother it was because of the Aberfan disaster in Wales where many young children were engulfed in pit waste. I will leave the reader to ask the same questions he asked himself.
A few years ago I received a put-down when I was told by a pastor that ‘God can do anything.’ The question of course is, why didn’t he prevent the disaster? Perhaps God was acting to evacuate the school during the very bad weather by in some way allerting complacent mine officials to the pending slide. Failing this, was God unable to suspend the Laws of Nature for a few days?
This came up again a few days ago in conversation with my brother and while it was on my mind news came in about the dam burst at the iron ore mine in Brazil. It was like a broken dream but why had this been preying on my mind? According to the laws of Physics and Entropy the dam had been failing for several days and the signal was crossing the Universe at the speed of light. Were nearby officials having nightmares and wake up in more ways than one and with authority to evacuate. Assuming there were warnings, was God unable to suspend the laws of nature when humans failed?
Perhaps God expects an end of complacency and eternal vigilance when human beings modify the environment in dangerous ways?
To be continued.
Continued from above:
In Luke Ch. 13 he tells how Jesus was asked to comment on the 18 people who died when the Tower of Siloam collapsed on them and also those who were slaughtered by Pilate’s soldiers in the temple while they were praying. They appeared to be asking why should this happen to innocent people and what sins might have condemned the 18. Jesus replied that in this World there are random events and diasters, such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc, which cause death. He went on to warn them that such events can come out of the blue and that there is not an unlimited amount of time for the amendment of life and repentance. He made no distinction between the 18 and those who died in the temple. He made a distinction between death and perishing involving the death of the soul.
Christians need to be less infantile about prayer. If we say that God can do anything, this is tantamount to saying that he did not choose to save the children of Aberfan and in effect allowed the disaster to happen.
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