January 13, 2010

A Christian Response To the Haitian Earthquake Tragedy

Yes, as we are able, we should send funds to support the relief effort. Individuals and nations will do this, some more than others.

Will we see the restoration of order, medical care, food, clean water, and the rebuilding of Haiti? In all of the suffering that has happened in Haiti, there is an opportunity to test and evaluate how "good natured, generous, and loving" human beings really are.

The world community possesses the technology, the means of transport, and the financial capacity to stop the dying, the starvation, and the loss of sanity now occurring in Haiti. It is estimated millions of people have lost their homes and tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, are dead. Without immediate assistance, disease, life threatening infections, hunger, and lack of clean water will claim the lives of many who did not immediately die in the earthquake.

How long will it take for the world community to organize and deliver meaningful, life saving support to the Haitians? Today, I have heard so many people say "Thank God, I don't live in Haiti." Not once did I hear that sentence followed by "Thank God, I can do something to help the people in Haiti." How often do we look at those struggling with some large, or smaller, tragedy and think "Thank God, it's not me!"?

Yes, if you are reading this, it is probably not your time for massive tragedy. Perhaps it is your time to send support, or pray that those who are delivering support will be courageous and be protected from harm. Perhaps it is your time to pray that those who are making decisions about how the injured and homeless will be cared for will act with wisdom, compassion, and timeliness.

Whenever these types of massive disasters occur, someone will usually ask, "How could a loving, all-powerful God allow something like this to happen to innocent people?" In that same breath, one must ask "How can naturally good and generous human beings retreat into the illusion of being 'glad it's not me' when faced with a large-scale human tragedy?"

The answers aren't far away: none of us are as good and generous as we appear, and God gave us control of the Earth. In due time, He will take control back, but right now, what happens here is up to us. The poverty and hunger and starvation and oppression that mark our world are here because we have decided there are more important things than fixing those spirit-killing conditions. The extreme poverty of Haiti (the western hemisphere's poorest nation) is a large element of why this earthquake has created such devastation.

It all happens because we allow it.

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