Some staff have asked me whether World Vision has a view about strikes.
My own position is this: I uphold the right for labour to withdraw that labour if they are convicted about an issue and agree that strike action is appropriate. I believe all employees, myself included, should have that right.
Of course, with that right (as with all rights) comes responsibility. We must ask whether the greater good will be served by inflicting loss of productivity on World Vision. This may be so, of course. It is a decision which can only be made as we confront each issue.
Certainly strikes have been a rare feature at World Vision Australia. Actually, I cannot recall any!
I hope that internal problems can be solved without strike action.
As for external issues, such as the future of Victoria, I believe individuals have to examine their own conscience about such matters.
No person will be discriminated against if they choose to take strike action.
Dad's got cancer.
This was the news Judy and I heard this week. Her dad has cancer.
We are thankful that it is one of the less virulent forms of cancer, from which most people recover quite well.
Nevertheless it's a worry. And, inevitably one asks Why him, Lord?
In the early days, when I first encountered the poor and suffering, I would ask “Why does God let this happen?”
I soon realised that most of the pain and suffering I was seeing was not caused by God by any means. Most of the world's suffering is man-made. And if you think I am being sexist, I am not. It is men, rather than women, who seem to cause most of the pain and suffering in the world.
The present pain of the innocent in Somalia is mostly the result of man's action. Men who are too eager to embrace evil. Men who are unable to resist the seduction of evil. Men who have no desire to bind evil.
Instead they seek after the Devil, and the Devil seeks them out and embraces them.
I have come to see that we live in a fallen world. The world is a stage upon which evil is the dominant actor. Where is God? Where is the God of love and justice and mercy?
Why does this God of love not take charge? Why does this God of mercy not feed the hungry by an exercise of his supernatural power?
I think the answer is that God has given us human beings the power to ask him to do these things, but we do not. Well, maybe some of us do ask. But most in the world prefer the way that leads to destruction. Most choose evil. And God says, with great sadness, So Be It.
Since we choose the way of evil, evil dominates. While Satan rules in human hearts, Satan also rules in the natural order.
God waits on the sidelines. Waiting for his creation, his people to call him in with love, mercy and justice. God waits - from a distance.
But even when Satan appears to triumph, God is not defeated. God is not powerless. He has another plan. Another way to enter his world and come into the lives of his children.
My work with World Vision has shown me that where there is pain and suffering, God is already there. You see, God refuses to be constrained by our human weakness. Even when we and the natural world reject his love and compassion, he nevertheless, enters into our pain and suffering with his love and compassion.
The proof is the cross of Jesus.
When the evil of the world inflicts pain and suffering on us, God says, I know what that's like. I've experienced it too.
When a mother surrenders a child to death by starvation in Somalia, God says, I know what that's like. I too, have lost a son.
When you hear, as Judy and I did this week, that a parent has cancer, God says, Been there too. Lean on me. I know how you're feeling.
God is a parent who saw a son die.