Haiti Horror

The Haiti pictures are so awful. Destruction everywhere. The odd thing is that this has hit the rich areas as hard as the poor areas. But with the poverty of the whole country the resources are non-existent. So the world will come to help. Christian relief will be there quickly since there is already a lot of mercy work going on.

 

 

 

Here is a note from one of my students about his brother. I found myself picturing what it would have been like to be in their place:

We wanted to send a quick update to friends and family about my brother Joel and his wife Rachel. Some of you may know that they have been living in Haiti since September working with Mennonite Central Committee. They were in Port-au-prince during the earthquake on Tuesday. We got word early in the morning after the quake that they were ok. They were able to call us from the US embassy. The details are sketchy at this point, but we do know that they were in their apartment when the quake hit (they live on the 5th story of a big complex) and the entire building collapsed to the ground. Somehow they survived and crawled out of the rubble during the night and made it to the embassy. Joel had a gash in his head and they both had scrapes and cuts, but it sounds like they are doing ok and were able to connect with some co-workers today. They are trying to find a way out of the country, but we don’t know when this will be possible.

Of course my theologian mind asks, “Where is God in this?” I find the NIV translation of Romans 8:28 correct: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” God works in contexts like the Haitian earthquake to do His good work. But as I see it, the evil is not His working, Others agree with the NASB translation of Romans 8:28: :We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,” This reading is that in an ultimate sense the earthquake is caused by God for His good purposes.

Which ever is the case, may the LORD grant mercy to the people of Haiti as He empowers His people to express their love concretely.

BLOG UPDATE: I just saw the Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Haiti’s Angry God.” It’s here. The author concludes, “Why, then, turn to a God who seems to be absent at best and vindictive at worst? Haitians don’t have other options. The country has a long legacy of repression and exploitation; international peacekeepers come and go; the earth no longer provides food; jobs almost don’t exist. Perhaps a God who hides is better than nothing.” I pray that the LORD will be very present through the concreteness of His church. It’s just so overwhelming to get help there in time for all the needs.

Bruce & Cindy McMartin, friends and a Western alum, play a big part in ABC News video report here. Pat Robertson talks about a pact with the devil, but when I watch this report of spontaneous worship the YHWH, I find tears coming. It’s just astounding and somehow comforting that these people are so worshipful in the midst of tragedy. Watcht this

7 thoughts on “Haiti Horror

  1. Hey Gerry,

    Thanks for the post. Off topic here, but have you ever written down the story of your friend in the Philippines (can’t remember his name…Bruce?) who God directed to a meet up with a head hunter? The head hunter wanted to know if there was a kind God out there, and he had a dream about a white man coming in a boat to tell him about this kind God, and that man ended up being your missionary friend.

    I’m dealing with the question of “What about those who haven’t heard of Jesus” in my teachings for our youth groups. I remembered your story as I was thinking through the issues, and wondered if you’d written it down somewhere. If not, do I have the basics of the story correct? Thanks!

  2. The plight of Chastity whose parents are in Haiti and she knows nothing about them until she sees them on TV is heart rending. So many stories like that.

    Ben your “repressed theologian” heart is right on. The LORD sometimes uses evil to punish evil. But if He were doing it to Haiti, there are many other places and countries that would be higher in the punishment line! Like you, I think Pat Robertson and people like him ought to be muzzled. Put the energy into relieving all kinds of suffering, physical, emotional and spiritual. God bless those folk who are there helping.

  3. Well, the most frustrating thing to me is when something like this happens Pat Robertson tells people like my mother-in-law (and anyone listening) “They suffer because they are cursed by God for bad behavior.” It’s a very simplistic approach to a profound problem, and 2+2=4 doesn’t answer it well; it’s no comfort to those who are suffering. And what about the Christian relief workers in Haiti, the ones who were there when this earthquake hit? Are they guilty by geographic location?

    Thing is, in my own family, I’ve seen Christians die in the prime of their life, and people who reject God living long full lives. If I think God deals with the world through blessings and curses, then things look like God has turned them upside down. The good are often snuffed out and the bad live on. God smashes and crushes at his whim, and poor people die in Haiti while selfish Americans go on their merry way–why? Because America is overflowing with goodness?

    We are all going to suffer here in this life. Paul says in Romans the world is subjected to futility because of sin. Technically, that would make the world’s broken state and it’s results our fault, not God’s. Jesus also talks in Luke 13 about the tower of Siloam falling on 18 people, who were no better or worse than the people he was addressing at the time. Seems like some of what happens in this world is random, or let’s say “passive judgment of God”. The ultimate result of being in a broken world is death–death by earthquake or cancer or old age, we’re all going to die, the Bible says as sinners we all deserve to die. All I can say is thank God for Jesus’ cross and for the fact that he offers people what they DO NOT deserve: salvation, sanctification, and ultimately glorification.

    The crux here is that we Christians know a God who redeems suffering. He himself was willing to suffer, when he didn’t have to, for his enemies. Like you are saying in your blog, God can bring good out of the bad, according to his will. Sure God dealt with the world on a national level with blessings and cursings–in the Old Testament. It showed us that God is sovereign and just and willing to judge sin.

    But now that we’ve seen the Light that has come to the world, why do Christians insist on turning back to the rules and regulations of a darker time to explain God?

    I suppose if I was told God had sent a specific prophet to Haiti to tell them to repent, like Jonah with Ninevah, then I would agree the earthquake was for specific sins.

    Blessings and curses, be good or be destroyed, it all sounds self-righteous to a lost and hurting world who doesn’t need finger-pointing from Christians. I deserve to die as much as any Haitian, probably moreso. Paul was chief of sinners and yet God lavished grace on him. However, that didn’t get him off the hook: snakebitten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and he called that “momentary light affliction.” It wasn’t that following God helped him escape troubles or showered him with blessing, but that his relationship with Christ assured him an eternal life where suffering would not exist.

    Thanks for reading, sorry it’s so long. The repressed theologian in me breaks out!

  4. Gerry, I think the real question is “How can an almighty God allow the media to get their theological questions answered by Pat Robertson?”

  5. Dr. Breshears –
    Thank you for your thoughts on Romans 8:28. Often times, I get that question from teen girls I spend time with…”You say God is loving, and sovereign?…Where is God in THIS?!” …and my response is just that…He IS there. He is NOT the evil. He is the redemption. He is the light in the grim…He is the hope restored.
    My parents are currently in Haiti. Today I saw pictures of them and it brought so much relief to my heart, words can’t describe it.
    But on the heels of that, I was humbled…I was just grief stricken for those still looking for the text, hoping for the call, or worse – digging through rubble to get their relief regarding their loved one. And my heart grieves something fierce….
    I’m just listening to “Oh How He loves Us”….the Kim Walker version (My FAV) which is a song that makes you want to stand on a mountain top and sing your heart out!
    As I listen, I’m praying that Haitians in the depths of their despair feel “grace bigger than the ocean”….and that somewhere, somehow through their devastation they can feel the Lord’s heart beating violently for them…and that they will be drawn to redemption by his amazing grace.
    Thank you for the example you are! I look forward to meeting you when you visit the CLC in March!

  6. The major religion – including promoted by the nation’s leaders – is voodoo. That is satanism. The Bible speaks throughout that those who turn to false gods and satanism are subject to great curses of poverty, tyranny, oppression, etc.

    There are literal blessings that are over a nation whose God is the Lord – a nation where God is honored.

    Just like sin can cause a person’s life on an individual basis to be ripe for all sorts of curses, ruins, loss, depravity, and deprivation bringing poverty of soul and all other things – so can the sin of a nation’s leadership and it’s national character bring curses for disobedience and broken fellowship with God.

    Every good gift comes from the Father of Lights above. We are blessed through God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Where is God in all of this??

    Calling them to repentance, fellowship, and communion with Him so that He can bless them.

    Giving the people over to punishments now so that they may turn to Him and be blessed rather than cursed on Judgment Day would be beneficial for their souls.

    There is a cause and effect return for opening the door to Satan by worshipping him through voodoo. People have souls that must stand before God on Judgment Day. God would like to reconcile relationship while people are living on earth. If God didn’t allow the due consequences of devil worship in a cause and effect relationship – people might actually believe they are blessed by worshipping Satan.

    These people are the most cursed, impoverished, degradated people group in the Western Hemisphere. They are a living testimony to the curses that result from turning from God who blesses us with all spiritual blessings from above – and turning to Satan who has come to steal, kill, destroy, and curse people.

    Where is God??

    It may be more kind for God to allow a devastating earthquake since these people didn’t turn to Him as curses of poverty and degradation increased.

    Jonah went to warn Ninevah of what would happen.

    These people did not hear the warning.

    God is on His throne. No earthquake of this level occurs without God allowing it for reasons of curses that are stated in the Word of God.

    Any objective student of the Word really can see that disobedience and turning from God brings curses whileas serving God brings blessings. That’s not at all superstitious – it’s rather a very logical cause and effect course of action stated throughout scripture. There are spiritual laws at work controlling all things that happen on earth – and God has revealed these laws in His Word.

    Do bad things happen to good people?? Yes, but the curse causeless does not come. We battle not flesh and blood but spiritual principalities and powers of darkness. Sometimes good people have been attacked as Job was attacked for no reason but for the glory of God in their living testimony – and other times they have refused to believe the promises of God and are not receiving His blessings by grace thorugh faith at the point of their need.

    But to try to understand or explain what happens on earth by chance is a dead end.

    There are specific reasons and laws of cause and effect – and God sits on His throne either granting mercy, testing people, or releasing due reward or penalty in cause and effect release of the consequences of their actions in blessings and curses.

    It’s no mystery. The Bible reveals the principles of blessings and cursings and shows that God is on His throne in control of all.

    Where is God??

    On His throne in total control.

    God’s blessing to you.

    Laura

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