God has a sense of humour.
Australia’s “boat person” issue is complex. I understand the arguments of my Christian friends who see the issue as completely one of social justice and providing hospitality to those in need. I also understand the issue of the business of people smuggling driven by profit and responsible for untold deaths at sea. I understand those whose loving heart simply wants to embrace need. I also fear the reality that money triumphs need and those who arrive are not necessarily the most in need. I understand the plea for compassion. I know however that sometimes love must be tough.
Some time back I determined to react to the issue in two ways. Firstly I determined to stop thinking about the politics as frankly whatever I thought made no difference. Secondly I determined to pray. I admit my prayer was driven by desperation; what else could I practically do? I determined to pray especially for those in authority, as I knew behind all the rhetoric men, women and children continued to drown.
On taking up the role of a Chaplain in the Royal Australian Navy I forfeited my right to express a political point of view on this topic. I determined to keep praying.
Then a few months ago I was shocked to receive a posting for 2014 as Chaplain to Fleet North, the Patrol Boat Fleet based out of Darwin. I realised that God cared little for my politics but maybe cared a little more about what I was practically doing to make a difference. Then a couple of weeks ago I was crash posted as Chaplain on a major warship for 9 weeks from mid October this year to assist in what the new government is calling Operation Sovereign Borders.
I still don’t know about the politics. I do know that young men and women in the Navy are the meat in this political sandwich. I know that they are doing it very tough rescuing people at sea. I know their job is to serve their nation and government and my job is to serve them.
I invite you to pray too.
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior”
(1Tim. 2:1-3, NIV)