The tragedy in Haiti this week is absolutely overwhelming. When I first heard of the earthquake there, the magnitude of this event just did not hit home with me. Another earthquake in a foreign country; buildings collapsing and, sadly, people killed. It seems almost like an annual event, a terrible tragedy but nothing new.
Then the pictures began to arrive and the extent of the disaster hit home. This quake did not just damage a few buildings, rather, it hit everything. This quake did not just kill a few people, it killed thousands, possible upwards of a half a million! What a horrific event! To ponder the extent of this natural disaster or to view some of the images returning from the scene brings grief to my heart. So many souls taken into eternity. How many were ready to meet their God? So many souls injured or left without loved ones. How many need to know the God of comfort?
Our church is pondering on how to best help in this situation. Certainly we can and should pray. We need to pray for those who are still alive but trapped that help would come. We need to pray for those who are injured that they might receive the treatment they need. We need to pray for those who remain but have lost family members and friends that their mourning would be comforted. Most of all, we need to pray God will use this tragedy to bring many Haitian souls into the Kingdom of God. May a great spiritual revival in that land be one outcome.
We are also looking at some practical way to help the people of this island nation. Most likely, we will commit some of our funds to provide food and water for those in need. Surely this is the least we can do. How can we be followers of the Good Shepherd and not have compassion on the survivors of that land?
While we do not always understand God's purpose in such events, we can not deny God's hand either. He is the sovereign ruler of the universe and such natural disasters do not occur without his hand bringing them about or his hand permitting them to occur. The loss of life is horrific and, yet, each of us deserve death and not life because of our sin. The fact God does not strike down each of us with an earthquake, tornado, tsuanmi, or some other disaster at this moment is a testament to his grace, mercy, and longsuffering. He IS working "all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11b).
One lesson we should recall from this tragedy (for we all should have learned it by now) is our life is fragile and our time on this earth is brief. Indeed, this earthquake confirms the words of the Scripture: "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes" (James 4:14). When our life is over, no matter how our end comes, are we ready to meet our God? Do you know and honor his son, the Lord Jesus? Have you repented of your sins and are you trusting Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul?
In light of Haiti, each of us needs to reflect upon such questions as we pray and minister to the survivors of this terrible earthquake.
May the Lord have mercy on us and may He be glorified even in the midst of an earthquake in Haiti.