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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 2. March 20, 1946

Malta and God

Malta and God

Two fine Christian men have recently visited New Zealand—General Sir William Dobbie and the Bishop of Singapore. They both come from islands that were vital to our defence system, one of which fell, while the other did not. The General conies to tell us that in his view Malta did not fall because God prevented it.

This poses a problem which it is better not to dodge. Are we really to believe that God intervened for places that held, like Stalingrad and El Ala mein, and not for places that fell, like Bataan and the Channel Islands? Does God win battles for us?

I suggest that the thesis that our own success in war, or any other enterprise, is synonymous with the will of God is at the best unproven and at the worst presumptuous. It leads to the kind of prayer which is the mere naked assertion of our own will. This is illustrated with peculiar poignancy when parents pray for the safety of a soldier son. If he comes back they feel that their prayers were answered, but if not . . .

Because of our imperfect knowledge and our wrong choices we run into disaster, we suffer defeats and disappointments. But never let us forget that out of the defeat of our interests God can bring victory for His enterprise. Singapore fell, and the Bishop of that city was tortured by the Japanese. When the Japanese asked why he did not curse them, he replied that he was "a follower of Jesus Christ and must try to love them." In other words, God won a victory for His purpose in defeated Singapore which He could not win in inviolate Malta.