In the last few days we have had the horrific scenes of a tower block blaze in London. Folk largely poor and voiceless, stacked high and surrounded by wealth, it seems many people have died an awful death. Whatever the cause or fault, where were You God?
Imagine waking to a dim orange flicker,
Seen through eyes bleary with sleep and smoke.
Sounds of crashing and smashing,
Mixed with close-by screams of terror.
Our mind struggles to comprehend,
As our lungs struggle to breathe,
And a mortal dread grips our chest.
We live on the twentieth floor of a tower block,
And realisation dawns with rudest awakening:
Hell is all around, beneath, beside, outside.
Fire is extinguishing our life’s moments
With an awful and alacritous spread.
We have no time to think of loved ones.
We have… no time.
Flames lick at the door of our room,
And acrid smoke signals there is no escape.
As the heat intensifies we must open the window,
Only for a searing blast to engulf the room.
Dragon-like, we rasp out smoke,
As our skin boils in raw agony.
Our choice is no choice:
We cannot live in this hellish oven.
We climb up and out, teetering for a breath.
Inferno behind and flames whipping up from below.
There is no fireman’s ladder, no prayer, no hope.
Our back blistering, we plunge into the frightful void,
Where velocity cools yet speeds oblivion.
God, where were You in all this?
Is it good enough to say Your arms were ready,
Ready to receive our soul as we hurtled from life?
That the horror lasted but a moment?
That our loved ones will join us soon enough?
That all will be well?
Why are You not in control?
Our superman to snatch us from death’s slab?
Could You not sit at life’s street corner,
Like an ever ready paramedic?
Not interfering, but waiting, waiting?
Have You taken this free will thing too far?
A love that expresses its truth by absence?
Speak Lord, Your children are suffering.