I wanted to wait a little while before I approached the subject of Haiti. In the past few weeks quite a few people have come to me asking for my view of the situation. The question I get the most revolves around why God allows these things to happen.
Most scholars believe that Job is the oldest book of the Bible. The story of Job is pretty tragic; he loses everything he has in the most unfortunate ways you can imagine. LIfe is not good for Job. And every time something happens to Job his friends are there with a quick answer; God is punishing Job. They make their case by pointing out to him that the God Job refuses to doubt is standing by, watching these things happen. The crazy thing is, God IS there, watching, allowing Job’s faith to be tested. God’s decision to not intervene is something that puzzles Job. When the time does come for Job to ask God some questions, the response is overwhelming. God answers Job with another question. The Great I AM asks Job where he was when light was separated from dark? Who tells the thunder when to unleash? Who tells the tide to swell? (the list goes on for a while) In the end, God puts things into perspective by reminding Job who is who in their relationship.
There’s another great story in the Bible about a group of experienced fishermen out on a boat during a storm. The storm was bad enough that they were panicking, so you can imagine their surprise and/or frustration when they see that their leader is calmly sleeping through the storm. I say frustrated because in times of great trouble we expect everyone to pitch in and do their part. When the guys wake Jesus up, they ask if He even cares about them at all. Jesus comments on their lack of faith and then quickly calms the storm.
It’s easy to look at a storm or a tragedy and ask God where He is. We want God to fix things, to prevent things, to take care of major crisis. We want God to show up and do the things that we tell Him to do.
The problem is that He is God and we are not.
God set nature into motion a long time ago. He set the stars in the sky, He told the waves when to break, and the lightning when it should flash. Haiti is in an area that has braved many storms. Oklahoma has tornadoes, California has earthquakes, Louisiana floods. As we have moved into these places over time, we learn (often through great trial) how to survive in different climates. But these natural disasters are going to happen.
And God will be present.
We should not assume that God’s presence will manifest itself in a protective bubble, or a calming of the storm. Maybe God’s presence is only revealed after the storm has already passed? Maybe God’s presence is revealed through people in a neighboring nation donating over $100 million in relief in less than 72 hours. Maybe God’s presence is revealed through a world united with a goal of serving, caring and loving those who are without food, water, clothes… etc.
I’m often critical of the mainstream media. They have misused their influence for many years, but even they were used by God to bring attention to the needs of Haiti.
Every volunteer and every pallet of food is a reminder that the people of Haiti are loved.
Is there any doubt that we love the people of Haiti more now than ever?
Haiti was one of the poorest counties in the Western hemisphere. Then things got worse. It would be easy to say that they are being punished. It is easy to want to wake up God and tell Him to get to work.
God has been in Haiti all along, and He will continue to be there long after hollywood has forgotten about this story. He will continue to show himself in ways that we can not imagine.
There’s a story a few chapters after the storm where the guys are back on a boat. The seas are calm, but there is a figure walking on the water towards the boat. Once again the guys are scared, but one of them has the courage to ask Jesus to call him out of the boat.
And he walks on water towards Jesus.
So what are my thoughts on Haiti? My heart is saddened by the loss of so many lives. I don’t understand all of the circumstances that would lead to a country not having the basic infrastructure to deal with an earthquake. I don’t know the politics of Haiti. I don’t know what causes earthquakes, or why they are necessary. What I do know is that His love is very real to people of Haiti right now; that Jesus told us that whatever we do for ‘the least of these’ we do for Him. And when we have our eyes focused on Jesus amazing things happen.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
One love, one heart.