Earlier this week we have been talking to some of our pastor colleagues who are on the ground in Christchurch regarding the aftershock of this terrible disaster.
They described to us, what New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern echoed earlier, that this is certainly “New Zealand’s Darkest Day”.
They have just been to the Muslim community to see what kind of support they could offer to this disaster affected community who through unexplained actions of certain individuals, have caused fear, suffering, and most importantly loss of lives.
These were lives of family members, community leaders, school students, and the church community. Many now live in fear, and a little perplexed by what has just taken place in their Christchurch community, which has now impacted not only the whole of New Zealand, but also the international community.
The author of Psalm 46 encourages us to reconnect with God, as they did; not only during difficult times but also the good times. The author through personal experiences recognised and shares with us the hope that we can all hold on to in times such as these …
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”
Many of us today may have placed our hope in the things that don’t last.
We have not really understood, let alone rediscovered, God’s purpose for our lives.
We live as though nothing else matters except ourselves.
In discovering our purpose we will find that it is all about God and what he is doing to save us from all the problems we get ourselves in.
The question is, who have you placed your hope in?
As Christians, we have a blessed hope for the future. In the here and now, we have a constant hope that God is still in control amidst ruined cities and shattered lives. Psalms 113:5-9 gives us a snapshot of our God who is the best at turning what’s broken into something beautiful…
“Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.”
Our prayer is that we will share this hope with everyone that needs it; that we will spread the good news that God cares about His people (1 Peter 5:7) and that He is still powerful and working in our hearts and lives.
May God’s Spirit hover over the flood waters that threaten to wash away the foundations of our lives, bringing reassurance in the midst of calamity. May He wrap His arms around each of you and your loved ones and help you find rest, peace, contentment, hope and yes, Joy in times such as these.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families who have been directly affected by this tragedy.
Let’s continue to remember the Christchurch families in our prayers!
Pr Eric Toleafoa
Seventh-day Adventist Church