Last week there was an earthquake in Haiti that is still causing untold devastation. I have a friend who is down there doing relief work, he went over from the Dominican to help repair pipelines and work in some kind of a pharmacy to get supplies out. Every report is full of heart wrenching news–even the good ones about orpans finding families in the US has the painful reality that they shouldn’t be orphans in the first place.
Last week at my “city group” (a small group at my church) we talked briefly about the earthquake; most of us, having been at work all day, had no idea what had happened. Someone mentioned that Haiti has a lot of voodoo and occultic practices. I wish I had managed to slip in the fact that many are Catholics, and many are probably YHWH worshipping brothers and sisters. Maybe if I had said something rather than maintaining my usual silence, maybe no one would have said that they deserved it.
But I didn’t say anything, and when someone said that much of Haiti is trapped in various satanic activities, someone else pounced on it and said that must be why the earthquake occurred. I laughed at first, thinking she was sarcastic; this sweet, gentle mother. But the sudden hardness on her face and the severity of her mouth was clearly not joking.
I don’t know that I said much else the rest of hte night. I did try to talk once about trusting God, and only one woman understood what I was talking about which was more than just disheartening.
All I could think about was the coldness in her voice, the uncaring stance on a tragedy that has affected Christians and lost ones alike. If that is the God we worship, I don’t want anything to do with Him. I don’t mean to say that God doesn’t have a right to judge us. By all means, He is holy and we are anything but. And yet, there was such discompassionate coldness in the way she said that. As if God must look at it the same way and simply not care about His children being crushed by faulty buildings and sickened by malaria and cholera outbreaks. As if His heart doesn’t break over the lost, the broken and the hurting–even those who have turned to worship the enemy.
I know that He is holy and righteous. I know the Apostles Creed. I know He comes to judge the living and the dead. But I also know that He is perfect goodness, love, mercy and compassion; and that He wept over Jerusalem like a mother longing to gather the lost under His wings.
Because, after all, if He didn’t love us, why would Abba have sent Jesus to redeem us?
I don’t think we are meant to look at the earthquake in Haiti and see God’s judgment. Even if this is some kind of judgment, I think we are meant to be humbled. How am I any less of an idolater than the occultic voodoo practicing worshiper in Haiti? I deserved to be in one of those buildings as much as any of the people who died, were trapped, are living on the streets. Yeah, and so do you.
I think we are meant to be humbled, and then I think we are called to be the body of Christ, on earth, in a tangible way, and we are meant to give to the hurting, the lost and the broken. And we don’t just give the week of the event. We keep giving, in our towns, in our neighbourhoods, to the third world, to Banda Aceh where the tsunami hit five years ago, or in ten years, when Haiti will still be rebuilding. If that’s in prayer, time of service, money or in other ways as God might lead.
I don’t think that God stands over us, just waiting to devastate the world with earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and other disasters. But that’s just me.