February 18, 2010
Tsunami of Emotion and Understanding
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
"Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
This week, I came across a story that is all at once heartbreaking and hope-giving, tragic and uplifting, devastating and determined.
This excellent article by the International Mission Board's Shawn Hendricks chronicles what has happened to and through one Christian family on India's east coast since the tsunamis of late 2004. I encourage you to check it out. If you do, it will effectively function as your devotional for today much better than what I am about to write in response to it.
In a real-world account of events straight from the Book of Job, Paramesvaran and Choodamani lost all three of their children the day after Christmas that year. My heart breaks for families who lose one child, much less three. Imagine having lost one of them who was in your arms but who you were just not strong enough to hold on to against the crushing force of so much water.
Imagine being mocked by your friends and family for your faith while you are suffering such tragedy and burying your own offspring.
Imagine being so full of grief you discuss a suicide pact.
But then... eventually... the clouds lift, first for one spouse who is gifted by a word from the Lord about the blessing that her husband survived when so many others did not. Then, later, the husband feels the tugging of the Lord letting him know that his children are safe with Jesus, they're okay, they're full of praise and life.
The real, personable, meaningful faith in God pulls the couple up, and back together. They are blessed with two new children. But beyond that...
...the fact they are alive and together allows them to become adoptive parents to TWENTY orphaned children. Each of them has come to a saving relationship with Jesus, several helping their new father preach the gospel throughout the area.
The example of the family, assisted by donations of Christians around the world, has "brought the Good News into areas that were once unreceptive to Christianity."
The ends of things are truly never known until later. Purpose is often invisible until it isn't. Damaging floods can become cleansing baptisms through the passage of time and reflections from fresh perspectives.
Job refused to curse God and die. He instead decided ultimately to acknowledge that nothing he ever had was his, and that the only thing worth living for was the knowledge that God is awesome, powerful, and beyond our comprehension. And yet, loves us beyond measure.
His story is not just a fable or morality tale. It can seem that way to our modern ears, which are unaccustomed to the reality of THAT much tragedy. But that much tragedy occurs all too frequently around our globe, and when it does, it should not shock me to the extent it did when I read this story. I feel like I should nod knowingly about the cost and fragility of life on this big blue ball, and how despite all the shaking and quaking there can still be a steady security when I give up any notions that I am god, that I am in control, that my job is to do anything with my time here but praise and share, worship and help, live and move and be every minute that he allows.
Intersecting Faith & Life: May God continue to bless the ministry of Paramesvaran and Choodamani, and increase the strength in them that was built from climbing out of their tragic valley. May I not complain today about events that matter not. May I continue to see God's hand in everything as long as I have eyes to take it all in. And should I or my loved ones suffer anywhere close to this much, may we never forget this example of coming out the other side reborn, making ministry from the madness.