Philadelphia. It is an amazing city with an unparalleled history, richer than any other American city. Philly is a city of firsts. It served as our nation's first capital. It opened the first public school. It bought the first fire engine. It erected the first brick house, printed the first almanac, created the first botanical garden, opened the first zoo, started the first newspaper, opened the first hospital, and at least 100 other firsts. It was also the home of Charles Vansant, the first documented shark victim on American record. It happened along the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1916, and was the real-life inspiration for the 1975 movie Jaws by Steven Spielberg. In a span of less than two weeks, a rogue shark attacked 5 victims in New Jersey, four of which died from their injuries. What makes that year so unique is that only one person since then has died from a shark attack on the Jersey coast. Up until that summer, "experts" never even suspected that a shark could kill a man. Today, it seems nothing unusual to hear about a shark attack, although the chances of one dying from an attack is less than one's chance of being killed by a falling coconut! The summer of 1916 brought a strong heat wave to the N.E., and that also resulted in many more people venturing out into the water. Where is God at times like these?
That is a very hard question of which I feel nobody has an adequate answer. It is true that God performs miracles everyday. But most of the time, He chooses not to violate the very Laws of nature that He created. He put sharks in the water, and apparently, made them the kings of the water. They are perfect killing machines. Despite this fact, thousands and thousands of swimmers hit the beaches everyday, never to even be threatened by a shark. But we know it happens. And we know it can happen at any time man and shark mix in the shark's very habitat. Atheists use these incidences of shark attacks and other tragedies to argue that there is no God. How could a loving God allow such awful things to happen? I, just as you, have probably wondered that same thing many times. Why doesn't God help us in those times? My mentor explained to me that if God helped us all the time, so we could avoid danger, then we would expect Him to help us no matter what situation we got ourselves into. I have faith in God, but if I walk out in front of a car, I still expect to be seriously injured, if not even killed. We should have faith in God. But God also gave us a brain. Many tragedies could probably be avoided if people used the brain He gave them. Yes, it is very good to depend on Him completely for every single need that we have. But we should never expect Him to help us all the time, especially when we do foolish things that may increase our chances of being in a tragedy. We should use our faith. But we also must use our brains and the good sense God gave all of us.
Proverbs 15:33 says, "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."
Father, please help us to not only have faith in You, but also help us to make the right choices in life. In Jesus name, Amen.