News of the bushfires in Australia has reached the U.S. and Britain, we're told. It's good to know that Christians in those countries are praying for the people affected. The situation in parts of southern Australia is pure horror. The death toll could rise to 300, so that it's worse than the Bali bombing in 2002. In fact doctors who work in casualty hospitals, treating people injured in the fires, have said just that: they remember Bali, and this is worse.
Predictably, some people are going to say the usual things about 'How could God allow this to happen?'On that subject, one Christian dropped a controversial bombshell, reported in today's newspapers. Danny Nalliah sounds like a fearless Christian who says: "I must tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to
hear." That is the pure truth, but some people are not going to like it.
Specifically, what he said was this. The bushfires in the state of Victoria have been allowed to happen because the Victorian state government has decriminalised abortion. In Danny Nalliah's words, this has made Australians "an open target for the devil to destroy."
Danny Nalliah has suffered for his faith. About a year ago, he and another pastor from Catch The Fire Ministries were taken to court by a Muslim group who claimed that these Christians had insulted Islam. It turns out that what the Christians had done was explain some differences between Islam and Christianity, with the aim of showing Christianity to be better. Members of any faith group will do that so as to explain why they follow one faith and not another. It is not inciting hatred, and after a lower court found them guilty and awarded damages a higher court overturned the decision. A good thing too, I personally think. But Pastor Nalliah has upset quite a lot of people with his comment. He is also reported as saying that he dreamt of raging fires some weeks before these bushfires broke out, and woke up with what he called 'a flash from the spirit of God: that His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia.'
God deals individually with Christians. The Bible is clear on that. Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego were kept safe in a fire hot enough to kill other people who even went near that fire to throw the three believers into it. (Divine retribution?) The judgement of God does not fall clumsily on everyone just because some of people in a community have brought it down. But then the Word also warns of a whole land suffering because its people have turned away from Him.
This is something I should say with care, because my own sin is enough for me to worry about before I point out other peoples'. But I'm wondering if my brother Danny Nalliah might be doing just what he says: telling people what they need to hear, even when it is not what they want to hear.
Australia overall is not a Godly country. There is a great deal of self-satisfaction and arrogance in people, and contempt for what they call 'holy rollers' Thousands of Australians only use the words "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation of some sort. The attitude is 'Nobody can tell me what to do'. Abortion can be a classic example of serving your own convenience without caring about the rights of another human, who exists even though they are not yet born. Could it be that this has gone way too far? And as one columnist pointed out, here as in America, people from every other religion can speak their mind but Christians should just keep quiet. I hear something like that is happening in the U.S. now, with attempts to prevent Christians praying in public although a similar ban has not been proposed for others.
I can see why God could become utterly exasperated with the attitude of the human creatures He made and blessed. Without claiming to know His mind on all issues, I can see how He might allow disaster so as to show people what happens when they ignore Him. He is not an insurance policy that you buy, put in a drawer and do not think about unless you need it. God should be remembered every day, and thanked ever day. A Salvation Army officer ministering to the bushfire survivors talked quite openly about praying. Hopefully what he says might make people think: did they care about God before the calamity came down on them? I pray for them as well. Natural or human-made disasters can fall anywhere without us forseeing it. I too am a sinner. But if anyone wants to challenge me with 'How could your God allow this to happen?', my answer is 'Did you ever bother talking to God before this happened?'
Danny Nalliah might be telling people what they need to hear.