Some rambling thoughts regarding the earthquake in Haiti.

1) Life is so uncertain. One minute a person is making plans for the evening, or getting off work or just conversing with friends. The next, your city is a pile of rubble caused by an earthquake of enormous proportion and life changes forever. The earthquake in Haiti should gives us all pause to stop and consider the brevity and uncertainty of life.

2) In our church we have a growing population of Haitian expatriates who have grave concerns regarding their country and friends and loved ones. We are rejoicing that one of our members took off from Haiti two hours before the earthquake struck. Another has found out that her children are alive even though she has been unable to contact them so far. All the accounts from our Haitan attendees may turn out to be not so positive.

3) There have already been some of the usual responses about how a loving God could allow such a tragedy to happen, but massive horrors like this are not testimony that God is dead or unconcerned or less than able to do something to prevent such things. Jesus took the opportunity, when a tower had collapsed, to warn people about being prepared to leave this life.

Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. [2] And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? [3] No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. [4] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? [5] No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

None of us know when we are going to go or what is going to take us. And such things happen to godly followers of Jesus Christ and they happen to those who deny that He ever existed at all. But Jesus tells us to be ready to go. Turn from sin and look to Him while you still can.

Sin has warped this world out of it intended shape and made it a sad shadow of what it was meant to be. The only solution to the mess that sin has brought is the eternal Son of God Himself.

4) God calls us to live by faith. When a tragedy such as this one occurs the faith is tested. But a faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. He promises a child to Abraham and Sarah and puts it to the test by making them wait until the biology says that bearing a child is impossible. He promises that a child will be born who will crush the serpent and his work but the Messiah does not show up for at least four thousand years. He promises to come back and after (only) two thousand years hasn’t shown up yet. God calls us to believe. If all our questions are answered and we can put God in a test tube and see Him and all His reasons for all He does then we do  not need faith at all.

5) The Bible tells us that such things happen.

Matthew 24:4-8 (ESV)

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. [5] For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. [6] And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. [7] For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. [8] All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

The one thing that we know for sure regarding such things is that they are not a sign of the end of the age, or the return of Christ. They are signs that until Jesus does return the world is going to marked by such things.

6) One of the best prayers I have ever heard was made by a lady in our church on Wednesday evening as we took this and other things to God in prayer: “Lord you could have stopped this from happening, but you did not and we trust you”. Some will scoff at this, but it is a marvelous prayer. It testifies to our horror at what has occurred and the knowledge that God is sovereign and that we are ignorant of the vast purposes of God at work in the world and that He is worth hanging on to in the face of it. To pretend that we would do better than God in what we would allow to happen in the world is idolatrous and we must not enter into such thinking.

7) God calls us to respond with compassion for those who suffer. Consider what you are able to do to help those who are are desperately in need in Haiti as they try to recover form the destruction and death that has occurred. Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons. He did it out of a heart of love and compassion. Our sympathy and pain does not begin to approach the Creator’s. He calls us to be His hands and feet at work to alleviate the suffering that marks this world and will continue to do so until Jesus returns.

Show the heart of Christ today – in your response to those in Haiti or in simple acts of love and compassion to others that you rub shoulders with today.