Sunday, September 04, 2005

God and disasters

I am reminded of what happened when I was a student in London in the mid 60s.

I attended Westminster Chapel, a formative part of my theological education, hearing Martyn Lloyd-Jones, IMO the greatest preacher in the UK in that century.

The Doctor rarely referred to contemporary events in his expositions, but when he did it was all the more memorable.

It was a Sunday evening so the text was in Acts. I have forgotten what it was but not the gist of his stunning comments on the disaster at Aberfan the week before. There in his beloved Wales our preacher knew so well, the slag heap from a coal mine had slipped down a hill side and covered the school below killing many innocent young children.

The preacher said people ask why dd God allow this. He said why should they hold God responsible when humans were responsible, depositing mining waste where they knew there was a spring of water at the site. Why should God protect people from irresponsibility when they have rejected him? He said he knew Aberfan well. It had been blessed sixty years before in the Welsh Revival but now the chapels were empty. If people turn their backs on God, why should he protect them?

It was stunning. At the time I though he was hard. No-one else was saying this.

But I soon came to see he was right. The slag heap should never have been there. God's common grace usually protects us, the just and the unjust, day by day. But if his providential protection is withdrawn, we see the effects of sin in a fallen creation and in fallen lives in all its horror.

My sympathies and prayers are with the people suffering in Luisiana. Now is the time to call upon the Lord.

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