Haiti, My Beloved
- Friday, January 22, 2010
My response to such an amazing gift is inexpressible joy and overflowing gratitude because this treatment is certainly much better than I deserve. When life seems rosy, I am grateful and happy; but what about when I face heartaches, disappointments, disaster, horror and difficult circumstances? If you are like me, your tendency will be to choose forgetfulness which leads to ingratitude, self-pity and ultimately grumbling. God takes such actions very seriously as seen in Numbers 11:1, "The people of Israel complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when He heard them His anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." See, the path of forgetfulness is the highway of disobedience which leads to death. God had specifically warned the Israelites through Moses to be careful to remember.
Deuteronomy 5:15, "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm."
Deuteronomy 8:19 reads, "If you forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed."
Sadly though, Psalm 106:21 reveals that "they forgot the God who saved them who had done great things for them in Egypt."
Friends, when the apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God to write in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!," it was God's way of telling us that we ought to choose joy and gratitude at every single moment of our lives, whether fun or dreary, good or bad, easy or difficult, because according to Psalm 126:3, "The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy."
Sometimes we can't see anything that's good in our lives. When that happens, we must pray like the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:18, "That the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know the hope to which he has called us." What - or rather, Who - is that hope? Christ, the Holy and True One, the Alpha and Omega, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the One who died and came to life again, the Amen. He is our hope. I don't know about you, but that revelation made me realize that I'd better remember who Christ is in the midst of trials; a timely revelation as I was about to witness Haiti's greatest trial to date.
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, shortly before 5 p.m. EST, I was in northern Haiti when a deafening 7 magnitude earthquake shocked the whole country followed by a long series of aftershocks many of which were on a scale of 5.1 and higher. You are no strangers to the news thanks to around-the-clock coverage by CNN and other means of communication. Our church has been particularly in tune with this horrifying carnage because of its connections with Haiti through the North Haiti Music Camp. Johnny and Greg Cullison were there the week before it happened, and my family and I were to leave Haiti two days later. On the internet and TV, you have seen countless images depicting intense pain, highlighting severe losses, and intense suffering.
It is doubly hard to take when one thinks that Haiti was already at rock bottom before it all began. That morning missionaries and pastors rolled up their sleeves to minister to the numerous needs facing them, women got up very early carrying baskets full of produce to sell at outdoor public markets, some fortunate young children went to school while others roamed the streets begging for "1 dolla," drivers loaded their little tap-taps with too many passengers, others lined the streets leading to the American Consulate to seek a better life in the U.S., and still others went hungry, all the while hoping and trusting that the Lord would provide for them.
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