While people north of Toowoomba were being evacuated from their homes as a massive firefront approached, a few hundred kilometres away the Sunshine Coast was being pummelled by giant hailstones.
Hailstones between 2cm and 6cm, about the size of a cricket ball, fell between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast as three severe thunderstorms moved across the coast just after 2pm on Sunday.
These events prompted Israel Folau to wade back into controversy, claiming the fires and drought are God’s punishment for legalising same sex marriage and abortion.
We know that the Bible says God is sovereign over everything and history shows us that God does use catastrophes for His purposes. He also tells us that in the “end times”, droughts, famines, pestilences and earthquakes will increase. Sadly, Christians, even our Prime Minister, do not believe it is helpful for Israel, nor anyone else for that matter, to suggest that God is involved in anyway in the current catastrophes. I am not sure what they do with the following Scripture.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 4:13-14
Churches across Australia are not only offering practical support to victims, firefighters, and communities, but are also praying for rain, for repentance, and for God’s plan in people’s lives to be strengthened even through difficulty but they also need to be warning people of the consequences of turning their back on God and His commandments.
In Queensland the number of fires facing emergency services jumped from 82 at 2pm on Sunday to 94 four hours later. A spokeswoman for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said storms in extreme fire conditions could be more of a hindrance than a help, with several new fires likely starting from lightning strikes.
NSW also remains in a state of emergency, with severe fire danger ratings issued for New England, the Northern Slopes and northwestern regions on Saturday. Total fire bans are in effect in those areas, as well as the far north coast, which has been issued a very high fire danger. As of 8pm on Sunday, 60 bushfires were burning across the state.