Saturday, January 23, 2010


I’ve been watching the news about Haiti and it absolutely breaks my heart.

I’m not one of those Christians who see this horror as a ‘judgment’ of God. I don’t believe for one minute that my Lord, who I love and revere would take pleasure in that kind of sorrow. I don’t believe that He caused the tsunami a few years ago to hurt people. I don’t believe that He caused the twin towers to fall to show anyone anything.

I believe in natural disasters and I believe in men with evil in their hearts, and they have both existed since Adam and Eve left the garden. You say, “Well maybe so, but so many people didn’t die from one event.”

Oh really? Well, let’s see; there was Adam, Eve, Cain and Able. Cain killed Able, or ¼ of the entire world’s population. Then there was Herod the first who killed anyone who got in his way, including two of his own sons. Herod who lived in Jesus time killed all the male babies in his kingdom less than 3 years of age. Pharaoh who lived in Moses time also killed all the Jewish male children and it goes on. Between 1938 and 1945, over 6 million Jews, gypsies, polish people, mentally and physically challenged people, were put to death in German death camps. Evil is not new.

In 1138, an earthquake hit Syria and 230,000 people died. In 1181, 100,000 Japanese people died of famine. In 1201, an earthquake on the coast of the Mediterranean killed 1.1 million people, mostly in Syria and Egypt. During the years between 1347 and 1350 – just three years – the Black Death, or bubonic plague, killed 1/3 of the population of Europe, as well as more deaths in China and Japan for a total of 25,000,000 people. More recently, during the world-wide influenza pandemic of 1918-1919, between 34 and 75 million people died. Those are the ones that they are sure of, there may have been as many as 100 million.

What happened in Haiti is horrible and should touch every decent person’s heart. We should do whatever we can to help; be it money, goods, our sweat or our prayers, but I don’t believe that this was a judgment from God.

When I am tempted to ascribe horror, or evil, or natural events to God, I am reminded of the book of Job. God is talking to Job and asks, (The Message)

“Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you'll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn't run loose,
And said, 'Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.'

12-15 "And have you ever ordered Morning, 'Get up!'
told Dawn, 'Get to work!'
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wicked—
they're caught in the very act!

16-18 "Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
Do you have one clue regarding death's dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

19-21 "Do you know where Light comes from
and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
You've known them all your life,
grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

22-30 "Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they're carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don't for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?”

When my daughter died, I was encouraged to be angry towards God. Then one day, I read, “God never takes a child, but He always receives them.” I think that pretty much explains my feelings about God in the midst of adversity. He never asks us to make bad choices, or to harm our planet or each other, but when those things happen, He is there to help us.

I believe He is in the 12 day old infant who was pulled from a building alive after being buried for 8 days. I believe He was in the Twin Towers in every person who went against their natural instincts and ran into burning buildings instead of running away. I believe He was in every person in Hitler’s Europe who hid Jews knowing that they could be imprisoned and killed for their kindness. I believe God is in every act of goodness that happens when sorrow comes. He is in the governments who sent teams of helpers to Haiti, and in the strength of men and women who dug survivors out with their bare hands. He is in those too old and feeble to journey to Haiti, but who kneel by their beds and pray for those in need.

I know that there will come a day of judgment, but I don’t think we are there yet. I believe that when sorrow comes, God weeps with us, and then inspires people to help.


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