Jim Denison is president of the Center for Informed Faith and theologian-in-residence for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He provided this opinion piece (condensed below) to the Associated Baptist Press.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were flying over the Gulf of Mexico. The pilot came over the intercom, suggesting that we look through the windows on the left side of the airplane. We could see a group of ships circled on the ocean below. The pilot informed us that we were looking at the flotilla surrounding the BP Deepwater Horizon site.
From 33,000 feet above the Gulf, its waters looked tranquil. There was no evidence visible to us of the disaster continuing to unfold 5,000 feet below the surface. As many as 2.5 million gallons of oil gush into the ocean from the damaged well each day.
How does God view this ongoing tragedy?
First, He continues to grieve with the families of 11 workers killed at the beginning of the disaster, when the drilling rig exploded on April 20.
Second, He is personally concerned for the millions of people who are being affected by this disaster. Fishermen and those they support, residents along the Gulf Coast, entire towns and economies -- the list of innocent victims goes on.
Third, He holds us accountable for our management of his creation.
There is good news even in this tragedy, however. One way God would redeem this disaster is by calling His people into intercession. Have you prayed today for the families grieving those who died when the rig exploded? Have you asked God to grant His wisdom and perseverance to those trying to stop the oil spill and deal with its consequences? Have you prayed that those affected by this tragedy would turn to Him in faith?
Another way God would redeem this tragedy is to use it in exposing the fallacy of self-sufficiency. Our culture congratulates the self-dependent -- get up earlier, stay up later, try harder and you can solve your problem. The ongoing disaster in the Gulf shows us the folly of such self-reliance. What crisis is calling you to God today?
Flying above the Gulf, I could not see the oil spilling into its depths. Neither can I see the pain, grief, or worry you are hiding from the world today. But your omniscient Father can. Why not trust your secret problem to His redeeming grace?