By Karen Paull

Who amongst us has not been affected by the drought and fires? As we continue with our ‘normal’ lives, we are conscious of the deep suffering of others – including our land and it’s unique and precious creatures. Reminders are in the air we breathe, the ash on our cars and all over the media.

Our positive response is key to remaining resilient to all this bad news. Like many Disaster Recovery Chaplains, I find the heroic response of those affected amazing. Far from ‘woe is me’, many are so courageous, looking to the future with hope and determination. Their purpose is clear and they see life with new clarity. It is less clear for those on the margins however, looking helplessly at terrifying images. What do we do?

I love the response of my Physiotherapist! She held a raffle for a free massage raising funds to rehabilitate wildlife. She is offering her talent to specifically help a cause that touches her heart deeply. This response aids her emotional health, that of others who contribute, the wildlife and the winner! Making a constructive, personal investment helps overcome our feelings of helplessness. Donated goods are not needed, but what else can you offer?

And where is God in all of this? How can a loving Creator bear to witness such devastation? I believe God is still there in the midst of the suffering as always, deeply anguished by the losses, and available to those who will reach out to ‘Him’ in any sincere way. This is clearly not the fault of the Creator. We are aware now of the devastating effects of climate change, and our culpability as people who use too many resources. We need to make changes to our lifestyle, not just blame politicians, God, whoever.

The good news is when we are willing to change, God comes through! Let me know if you want some guidance in doing so.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (The Bible, Psalm 46:1, ESV)


Rev Karen Paull is the Community Chaplain in Lane Cove.