Posted by: tucsonjefe | January 22, 2010

What about Haiti?

I finally found a moment to get a note out to you guys.  The events in Haiti since the earthquake have kept me distracted.  For a number of years, I traveled to Haiti regularly, doing medical clinics, preaching, and ultimately helping with a training program for church leaders.  We have many wonderful friends from that time.  Seeing the images of destruction in Port-au-Prince really stirred me up.  I could smell that distinctive odor of decay and dirt and charcoal that used to hit me when I stepped off the plane.  In a place where poverty and violence and corruption are the norm, death and devastation struck on a scale beyond my ability to comprehend.  My thoughts have been all over the map, but here are a few things I noted:

  1. In times of great trial, it is not helpful for Christian leaders to repeat half-baked tales about “pacts with Satan” to infer some kind of causal relationship to the tragedy. (I haven’t heard anyone on TV saying that California mudslides are the result of Hollywood decadence) Haiti was birthed in a violent slave revolt against the French.  No doubt the leaders invoked the deities that were common to their West African heritage, a seminal variety of what we call Vodun or Voodoo.  What the many thousands of wonderful Christian Haitians and Christian missionaries there don’t need is the implication that somehow God did this as a sort of cosmic retribution, and that the godly people who died were just collateral damage.  Give it a rest!  Do something to help and shut up.
  2. The United States, even on a bad day, is a remarkable nation.  The outpouring of aid, both governmental and private has been huge. American individuals, churches, and corporations have given more than most nations (In the middle of a recession).  People have lined up in droves to go personally to assist. The despots who so casually call us “The great Satan,” have managed to show their religious fervor by doing nothing.  (Hugo Chavez did manage to opine that the quake was probably our fault)  The only reasonable explanation for this is the deep rooted Christian ethic that is still alive in the towns and villages of this land.  Thank God for the United States of America.
  3. Never think your work for the Lord is in vain.  The great reality is that there are many Haitians in heaven today because somebody went and preached the Gospel to them.  We may never know in this life the why of the disaster, but for those who knew Jesus we know the where of their eternity.  Every salvation makes a difference, because death often comes suddenly.
  4. As in most crises, the adrenaline will soon stop flowing.  CNN will move on to the next big thing. That is when real compassion will begin.  A one-time gift to help for a moment is a great thing. Soon, however, the survivors are going to need someone to show up when the emotions run out to rebuild and inspire and encourage.  My prayer is that what the devil intended for evil, God will ultimately use to bring about good.  He usually does that through the prayers, the finances, and the sweat of the Body of Christ. 

 Scripture Reading:   Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.  (1 Timothy 6:16-19 NLT)

Somebody Said: Charity sees the need not the cause.    German Proverb

 Years ago, I heard a pastor say, “Don’t give until it hurts; give until it helps.”  Sounds like God to me.



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