It’s 10:23 pm on New Year’s Eve, 2019. I am sitting on the sofa bed in my mum’s house in Canberra, having a bit of trouble settling for sleep and trying to keep my eyes from getting dryer due to the smoke that has seeped into the house via that silly little window in the toilet room that you can never close.
I am writing because I haven’t gone in for the social media posts celebrating the new year – so much is happening around our beautiful nation that despite Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Premier’s encouragement to show resilience (and allow fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to go ahead – something I personally disagree with) and to give people something to look forward to, I feel that we also have an obligation to pray for our neighbours around the country, to share their burden of grief and to acknowledge the devastation occurring right under our noses.
Because it’s hard to relax, and be jolly and excited about the new year when we all have rellies (and friends and neighbours) on tenterhooks waiting to be told to evacuate up and down the East Coast and myself and my little family are all as far away from our homes as we could be during this extraordinary and historical time of fires-gone-mad across the country.
It occurs to me that I can see in my mind’s eye the things I treasure most that, if I was in a danger zone, to lose would cause deep sadness and that I am extremely privileged to only be feeling a bit nauseous and headache-y from the smoke. But I am unable to rescue my ‘things’ that matter and I sit here pondering their importance.
Thousands of people have not been able to ponder the importance of things and many have fled their properties with only the clothes on their backs. If they’re lucky, maybe they’ve picked up their phone and charger as they left so they can let their families know they’re okay. Maybe they’ve been able to rescue their beloved fur babies, scooped up their old photos that can never be replaced or even had the presence of mind to grab their passports, birth certificates and valuable documents.
But maybe they have not and I just cannot fathom what they are going through today. For those stuck on the beach in Mallacoota with only the rock wall and the water to keep them safe from the raging fires, I have no idea how frightening that must have been. The fact that the winds changed dramatically as David Jeffrey and his neighbours prayed is a great encouragement to us all to keep praying for these areas and all the others around the country.
So if you pray, please pray tonight for those who have lost so much.
- Pray for the firefighters, the defence personnel, the camera and television crews and all their families – for stamina and emotional/psychological strength to do what they do.
- Pray for the families who are facing the loss of loved ones, loss of property and businesses/income.
- Lift up those who are worried about their loved ones who they cannot reach and for all the animals, wild and domestic, that must be frightened out of their minds.
- Pray for clear and timely updates being shared from the NSW Rural Fire Service and those shared on the ABC broadcast
- Pray that those who need to hear this information will receive it in time.
- Pray for the hundreds of children who may be finding this experience distressing and that their parents and families are able to provide the emotional support their kids need through this.
Let us pray for peace in our weather system; that whatever is stirring up these enormous and treacherous fires will lose its strength and that these history-making weather patterns will turn in on themselves and put themselves out.
Our God is a good God and I do not believe that these fires are an act of outrage against our nation (everyone has a right to their opinion and I respect that, but I am not going to argue with that line of thought) and I do believe that as we turn to Him for rescue He hears us and will come to our rescue.
May you be able to sleep tonight and be safe. May 2020 be a year of great change for you and your loved ones, a year of breakthrough and blessing and one that heralds a season of joy in your life.
Miriam E. Miles