Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weeping With Those Who Weep

As we have watched the News coming out of Haiti this week, of the pain and loss and unspeakable suffering, we have felt so very helpless. Jim was down there a couple of years ago to help a Missionary who is supported by our church, so we have a first-hand knowledge of how very destitute Haiti was even before the earthquake struck last week. Already the recipients of massive amounts of aid from around the world, and needing the help of medical missions constantly, they were certainly not prepared in the least for a disaster of such magnitude.

Watching the horror unfold in the days immediately after the quake, as News crews and cameras began reporting on the aftermath, we weep and pray. What began as horrible has grown to become unimaginably worse. From a mother laying on a mattress in a field, being held down by friends, because her grief over the loss of all five of her children has driven her insane, to seeing dump trucks full of unidentifiable dead bodies emptying its gruesome load into a mass grave, the pain and anguish are too great to bear.

Our Missionary and his family were all able to evacuate safely to Florida on Saturday and we have read and watched reports of others fortunate enough to escape with their lives and families. Yet Kate works with a young man whose entire family is in Haiti, only he and his mother moved to the States, and he has been able to reach only a few relatives, uncertain of the whereabouts of most.

So, inevitably, we must wonder; where was God when this happened? Is God, as Pat Robertson claims, punishing Haiti for a pact they made with the Devil?

"Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, "it was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." -Luke 9:2-3

How can we discern the will of God in such a situation?! Certainly the punishment for anyone, Haitian or not, who chooses to turn their back on the Lord of Salvation and serve false gods has paid for their treason before 200 years pass. The people of Haiti have suffered much over the years, from corruption to disease to poverty, and they have fled when they could. There are in Haiti many who are faithful to the Lord, who serve and worship the true God of the Universe.

I don't have an answer to such a big question, no tidy package to mollify the conscience and make a grand excuse for God. The Lord has his plans and purposes, his ways are beyond searching out. I will not presume to know the mind of the Omniscient one.

I do believe that all things that happen come from the Lord's hand. How frightful to think that an earthquake is beyond God's control! Scripture clearly teaches that all things, whether they bring joy or pain, are under God's decree. A tragic event sent into the life of only one person has ripple effects which touch many lives. How much more is that magnified when it is a disaster on the scale of what we see unfolding in Haiti? In one way or another, the whole world is being touched by this event. A myriad of purposes splashing around the globe from one earthquake.

But, oh, such a high death toll, such suffering beyond comprehension!

God's ways are higher than our ways.

What of those who die quietly around the world every day, individually, yet without the Lord? Those who have forsaken the Savior of men while they lived, only to die and face the righteous judgment seat of God? They enter into eternity by the numberless thousands daily, with eternal suffering on a scale which causes the Haitian crisis to pale in comparison.

"Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he
may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will
abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
declares the LORD."
-Isaiah 55:6-8

Perhaps this crisis is just what we need to wake a slumbering and dying world to the reality of their peril. Perhaps this is what it will take to shake a comfortable church out of her pews and back into the fields which are white for the harvest. Finishing his answer to his disciples from the question above, concerning why the Lord would ordain a painful circumstance, Jesus answered-

"We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." -Luke 9:4-5

So let's do what we can. As John Piper once said when asked about Missions, "Go, send, or disobey". I'll add to that, PRAY!

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