Australia has been noticed by the rest of the world for two main reasons over the past few months. Unfortunately, it has not been for good news like the ‘Women’s Twenty20 World Cup’ victory.
Initially it was the bushfires.
We have never seen a bushfire season like the one we experienced over 2019/2020. The loss of lives, property, livestock and wildlife was devastating. It had many people praying for rain and wondering where God was in it all.
If God reigns in all of Heaven and Earth, then why don’t we always see the characteristics of His reign all throughout the world. We see plenty of loss, death, disease, poverty and pain. These are not characteristics of His Kingdom. I believe God reigns in all things but we don’t always perceive it. Perhaps it is our role as Christians to highlight or even bring the characteristics of God’s Kingdom where they seem to be lacking. This certainly happened as we watched people respond to our bushfire crisis. And by the way, it wasn’t just the Christians!
Where there was loss, people brought comfort. When a family was homeless they were given shelter. If people were hungry, they were fed. In a devastating situation the characteristics of the Kingdom of God were shown through the kindness, compassion and generosity of people in our own country, but also right around the world.
The Kingdom of God, here on Earth, should look like this. Wherever there is hate, we should bring love. Wherever there is oppression, we should bring freedom, wherever there is fear, we should bring peace and hope.
So, fast forward just two months and Australians have now been noticed for something else. We have gone from being seen as ‘heroes’ though the bushfire season and highlighted as a nation where the people take care of each other, to an ‘every man for himself’ culture.
We have become so fearful of COVID-19 that people are stockpiling items like toilet paper and getting into fights in shopping centres.
Wow! What changed so drastically? We went from thinking of others to thinking only of ourselves. Fear and panic have set in and seem to have trumped the attitude of support and mateship that this country is commonly known for.
I am certainly not making light the threat of COVID-19. It is a serious situation that we must prepare for. I just find myself asking the question; “If God reigns (and I believe He does) then what are the characteristics of the Kingdom of God through this COVID-19 outbreak, and if those characteristics appear to be lacking, how can I bring them with me into a situation, or highlight them as a Christian and as a human?”
Perhaps it is making sure others have what they need before taking care of myself. Maybe it is calming someone who is full of fear or anxiety about the threat of disease. I wonder if it is caring for others by following the safe hygiene practises we have been asked to. It could be a hundred different things, and we might all do something different but we should shift from asking the question “Where is God in all of this?” and start asking “How can I reflect God in this situation?” or “How can I live out a Kingdom of God life here on Earth,” which coincidently, is what He has asked us to do.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, Your God Reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7
I think we saw Isaiah 52:7 lived out through our tragic bushfire season by the way we all responded. I hope to see it again as we face this next crisis.
In today’s newsletter I have re-posted the letter I sent to families via C-Hub this week to outline the precautions we all need to take as members of the Cedars Community.
We will be sure to update our families as needed on the situation as it unfolds.