Choose life

The Tatura Guardian - - News - — Brian Spencer, Min­is­ter, Tatura Unit­ing Church

Some peo­ple have the abil­ity to make good come out of evil.

It has been 20 years since the Thredbo land­slide disas­ter — the event that changed Stu­art Diver’s life.

Re­cently Chan­nel 9’s 60 Min­utes fea­tured a seg­ment on the sole land­slide survivor, who shared his com­pelling story of re­silience and op­ti­mism.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view Stu­art Diver re­vealed his con­scious de­ci­sion to stay pos­i­tive in the face of over­whelm­ing trauma, in­clud­ing the loss of two wives, and his mis­sion to give his daugh­ter the tools to al­low her to deal with any trauma she may en­counter in life.

Now, as sec­ond-in-charge of op­er­a­tions at Thredbo, his mind­set is over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive and Mr Diver be­lieves it’s fu­tile to look at life any other way.

‘‘It just got so bru­tally hard. I was in the shower just cry­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘At some point you have to make a de­ci­sion that I am go­ing to live life. ‘‘You’ve got a choice. ‘‘Sure, have your emo­tional lows and go to those dark places, but make sure at the end of the day when you go to bed that the last thing you’re think­ing is ‘how bloody lucky am I? How great is the world? Let’s move along and see what we can achieve to­mor­row’.’’

Rosie Batty first came to our aware­ness as a griev­ing mother who calmly spoke out against do­mes­tic vi­o­lence just hours af­ter her son’s mur­der.

She gave voice to many thou­sands of vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence who had un­til then re­mained un­heard.

Rosie Batty has risen above her per­sonal tragedy and the great loss of her 11-year-old son, Luke, who was the vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence at the hands of his fa­ther in a very pub­lic as­sault.

Rosie’s story jolted Australia into recog­nis­ing that fam­ily vi­o­lence can hap­pen to any­one.

Vic­to­rian Po­lice Chief Com­mis­sioner Ken Lay praised Rosie as the most ‘‘re­mark­able vic­tim’’ he has ever met and said Rosie had put do­mes­tic vi­o­lence on the na­tional agenda.

Rosie now cham­pi­ons ef­forts to fight do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, mak­ing many me­dia and pub­lic-speak­ing ap­pear­ances to shine a spot­light on the issue and call for sys­temic changes.

Rosie’s in­cred­i­ble strength and self­less ef­forts are an in­spi­ra­tion to many other vic­tims of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and her courage and will­ing­ness to speak out will make Australia a far bet­ter place.

Let’s be clear, God had noth­ing to do with caus­ing the Thredbo land­slide. God does not cause cancer. God did not ‘‘take’’ Rosie Batty’s son, Luke. Bad things hap­pen to good peo­ple. Some­times we can iden­tify the cause and some­times we can­not.

Some­times it is the re­sult of poor de­sign and poor main­te­nance.

Some­times it is the re­sult of evil acts or men­tal ill­ness.

Some­times we just don’t know. But it is not from God.

I don’t know what their re­li­gious be­liefs are, if any, but when peo­ple like Stu­art Diver and Rosie Batty rise up and choose to cre­ate some­thing good from the evil that has be­fallen them, then know that God is at work.

The apos­tle Paul was writ­ing from gaol to the young church at Rome when re­flect­ing on how the be­trayal and grotesque death of Je­sus had been turned from de­feat to Chris­tian­ity’s cen­tral be­lief that God’s un­con­di­tional love trans­forms evil into good.

He wrote: ‘‘we know that in all things God works to­gether with those who love him for good . . . In all th­ese things we are more than con­querors through him who loved us. For I am con­vinced that nei­ther death, nor life, nor an­gels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor pow­ers, nor height, nor depth, nor any­thing else in all cre­ation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Je­sus our Lord.’’ — (Ro­mans 8).

Or to quote Stu­art Diver: ‘‘ how bloody lucky am I? How great is the world? Let’s move along and see what we can achieve to­mor­row.’’

This is the Gospel and it’s good news.

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