Images of the destruction in Haiti continue to pour in: grief stricken men and women clawing at the debris to unearth family members, dust covered children wandering bewildered among the rubble, unburied corpses piling up in the streets. This poor nation, ravaged by hurricanes, has been virtually reduced to dust. Why this poor nation? Why here? Why now?
Like most, I was shocked to hear Pat Robertson conclude that Haiti was struck by this catastrophe because it was cursed due to a pact with the devil in its history.
Jesus had a different answer. When a similar disaster leveled buildings in his day he said, “Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower fell in Siloam and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you no.” (Luke 13:4-5). When He encountered a man born blind, his disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of sin. They asked him, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that would be born blind?” Jesus responded to them and said, “It was neither that this man sinned nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent me.” (John 9:3-4). Jesus then proceeded to cure the man’s blindness.
Innocent people fall victim to war, natural disaster and disease. Catastrophes like the earthquake in Haiti will occur. It is part of the natural condition of the world in which we live. Our task is to respond, as thousands are doing, to help those in need. We must work the works of God by giving, going and praying.
We must work the works of God by giving. I am glad that my home church, Lake Pointe, urged members to give immediately. The day after the earthquake our pastor sent an email offering to channel funds immediately to disaster relief partners with global experience and a proven track record.. Other churches and organizations are doing the same. Unfortunately, there will be scammers and frauds. But trusted organizations with proven track records can help us get the right resources to the right place. A few will give large gifts. But the greatest help will come from all of us giving something. But the rebuilding will take a long time. We need to prepare to give after the crisis has slipped to the back pages of the news. We need to give immediately and we need to continue giving.
We must work the works of God by going. Right now Haiti needs the trained first responders. Too many of us rushing to Haiti with shovel and hammer in hand would only add to the problems. They need medical professionals, fresh water, food and sanitation. Once the first responders clear the debris and establish the systems for recovery, others need to go. Many of us can go and many of us ought to go. The recovery needs will extend for months and years.
We must work the works of God by praying. We need to pray for God’s intervention for the victims. We need to pray for God’s comfort for the grieving. We need to pray that God will use this tragic disaster to change Haiti. We need to pray for a new future for Haitians: for schools and education, for jobs and careers, for hope and a faith. We need to “work the works of God.”
To give immediately to Haiti relief go to www.lakepointe.org/give or www.redcross.org. Contact Bill Tinsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.