Victoria is suffering its worst natural disaster with the bushfires that have raged through the central parts of the state.

One Sunday my wonderful wife was in our backyard and she said “Look at this mess in this yard.”  The wind which had fanned the flames had caused some tree branches and leaves to fill our backyard.  I replied “We should be thankful we have a backyard still.”  It caused my wonderful wife to stop and think.

What has surprised me is the reactions to this tragedy.  I receive emails from different groups and people with responses varying from the need for leadership, the need for compassion and this is God’s judgement.

I am not going to enter into a theodicy instead I want to consider what does it take to wake us up to be thankful.  I realise this disaster shows us how hard it is to be thankful.  You see we seem to need to be pulled up short, and stopped to think to be thankful.  To live lives that are truly grateful, thankful for what God gives us is something we need to be woken up by and seem especially woken by tragedy.

This seems wrong to me.  If we are truly living in God’s presence why are we so unthankful?  Why does it take tragedy to make us realise the blessing of a backyard, a school, a police station, a car, an unburnt house and our lives?

While being self-absorbed seems to be what we are soften I pray that God turns our hearts more to him to be a people who are thankful for all the good that God gives.