Unless you live under a rock, you have no doubt seen pictures of Haiti. The devastation and despair...I can't even imagine it. We hear stories of looting, and say, "Can't people even control themselves when the whole country is suffering?" We can't imagine a situation where our house home and family have disappeared, and our only hope of a meal, perhaps our last one, is to steal it.
This morning our pastor preached on Revelation 19:7-9, focusing on this horrendous catastrophe. About 20 years ago, people in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky wondered about the possibility of earthquake here. Not a likely occurrence, nevertheless, one of the more devastating earthquakes in this area occurred about two hundred years ago, along the New Madrid Fault. Coincidentally, this earthquake in Haiti was the worst in two hundred years for that country; both quakes happened about the same time. In this case, the death toll is unknown. 100,000? 200,000? Can you fathom those numbers? I can't.
Christians, consider this number; of the close to 3 million people in this the poorest of countries in the Western Hemisphere, the majority, 90%, consider themselves Christian. Although maybe half of the population practices voodoo, I find it hard to believe some of the theories behind the reasons for this earthquake. (Please.) It's hard for me to understand why Christian brothers and sisters are having to suffer through this horror.
Dr. Thomas Zehnder, LCMS World Mission executive director, issued this request this week; "Pray that people would not despair in this very difficult situation but that God would use it for His purposes." What possible purposes could there be in such an event? Couldn't God have kept the people in Haiti safe from such a thing? Couldn't He have prevented this?
Well, of course He could have. But after pastor reminded us that He asks that our faith be in his Word, not in His miracles, he emphasized that He (God) is who He says He is. I can't argue with that. I wouldn't even want to.
This happened to brothers and sisters in Haiti. This has happened where I live, and could happen again. I don't know what time will bring. But I do know who is in control of time, and of my place in it. That will content me. I will, in the words of Revelation 19, remember that "...our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory!"
(If you are interested in helping, Lutheran Church Charities will be sending relief to Haiti. This organization is working with LCMS World Relief and Human Care to direct resources to the immediate needs in that country.)