Early in the afternoon on March 11, an explosion occurred at Brent Industries, located off of Highway 5. One man, Keith Leverette, has died as a result of this unfortunate occurrence; at one time, another worker was injured critically, and a third was unaccounted for. Fire responders from Brent, Eoline, Centreville, Tuscaloosa, Green Pond, and Montevallo responded, and the fire is expected to burn well into Thursday March 12th, if not also into Friday.
It is important that we think about this event from a Biblical perspective. What does this mean? First, we must thank the Lord that this accident was not worse—many more lives could have been taken or permanently damaged through injury, but were not. He was very gracious in that the explosion did not claim more lives than it did, and in enabling the firefighting personnel and law enforcement to assist as they could.
Second, we must remember that God is sovereign, and that He has, for His purpose, determined that the explosion today should happen. This was not an accident that happened through blind chance or uncontrollable fates; our Lord directs the paths of men great and small, known and unknown. He holds the stars in His hand, and controls the course of nations and kings. He has also decreed in His holy will that today, in Brent, Alabama, an explosion should take place and claim the life of at least one man. It is our duty to follow the example of Job, who said, “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21), and, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). As Samuel Rodigast wrote, in 1675, “Whate’er my God ordains is right: Though now this cup, in drinking, May bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it all, unshrinking: My God is true; Each morn anew Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart, And pain and sorrow shall depart.”
Third, it is very important also that we pray for the affected workers and their families. All too easily, those of us unaffected by the explosion can simply forget about the accident and its tremendous impact on countless families. We must pray to God that He will use this event to draw families—men, women, and children—closer to Him; that He will cause His name to be magnified through this; and that He will see fit to cause our communities to be strengthened more through this. If there is a way we can minister directly to them, we should. James writes, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:15-17). If you are a Christian and are able to help one of these families affected by this explosion, you must do more than pray for them. Your prayers are good, but will not clothe or feed them. You must put feet to your prayers.
Fourth, we must remember that the truth of God’s sovereignty in history, as we mentioned above, does not mean that man has no responsibility. It is now the proper duty of the local law enforcement to investigate the accident to determine if this was a purposeful crime, negligence, or genuine accident. The dectectives and officers must look to the Bible as their guidebook on what constitutes evidence, crime, and witnesses, and seek to follow biblical protocol for executing God’s justice. If a responsible party can be located, he or she must pay the biblical punishment God defines for the accident. This will need to be determined through prayer and reading God’s Word, particularly in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
Fifth, the suddenness of this should cause us to seek the Lord’s face again. The unexpected nature should remind us of the brevity of life, and by God’s grace renew our resolve to seek to obey our Lord and keep His commandments. The Lord may call us to account for our life at any time; have we served Him faithfully? Will He say of us, Well done, good and faithful servant, or will He say, Depart from Me into everlasting fire, for I never knew you?
Sixth, we need to rest in the fact that the Lord owns the future. We do not know what the Lord’s purpose is in this event, but we know that He works all things to His divine glory, and we can rest assured that God’s name will be glorified somehow through this.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Amen.