Live With Haiti In Your Heart
- 2010 19 Jan
I don't say this flippantly. I say this because it's the reaction I have right now. It's not something I'm proud of; it's simply what's going on at this moment in my head and in my heart. Perhaps it's because I don't have a personal connection with anyone in Haiti. Perhaps it's because I don't have the kind of compassion I know I should have.
But this news does do something deep inside me. It affirms a gnawing feeling that there's so much more to life and faith than what I know today. Today, I care about getting to bed late because I went to a UConn game with co-workers. Today, I care about wondering how many people are buying my new book. Today, I care about myself when there are others who need me to care about them.
Seeing suffering awakens me from the slumber of my ignorance, reminds me of my own self-centeredness, and plunges my theology into the deep water of reality. Is God sovereign, even as the earth heaves and fires are kindled? Is He good, even as the last cries of the dead drift quietly into the silence?
We know the rain falls on the just and the unjust. We know the Lord brings disaster on cities. We know He brings healing to the nations. We know He permits Satan to wreak havoc on His people. We know He restrains the devil. We know Jesus weeps over the lost. We know that some are born into suffering so that God might be glorified. There's deep theology here, an ocean of questions and answers that flow in and through one another and leave us in one of two places: wondering where God is in the midst of suffering, or wondering at the mystery of this God who works all things, including suffering, for good according to His purposes.
I spent my lunch hour in a cemetery today. I don't mean to be morbid, but it's good to go to the place of the dead to be reminded that emails and deadlines and Twitter and phone calls aren't quite as important as they seem throughout the day. It's a good place to be when wondering at the mystery of this God who works all things, including earthquakes in Haiti, for good according to His purposes. And it's a good place to go when thinking about what we're supposed to do next. So:
Give if God moves you to do so.
Pray with zeal that the glory of God would shine brightly in the midst of this tragedy.
Weep for those whose tears are dried by despair.
Go if God sends you.
But perhaps most of all, live with Haiti in your heart. In a week, when the blogs and news cycles die down a bit, or in a month, when our lives consume us once more with other things, or in a year, when most of us will have long forgotten the day the earth broke under Haiti, another disaster will strike, and we will be awakened once more to the realization that we care far too much about the trivial and far too little about the eternal. We'll be reminded that the bones of dead men testify that our lives are but a vapor. In that day, we will remember that living with Haiti in our hearts means living with a longing for the One who will bring renewal and restoration to a planet and a people who desperately need both.
My desire is that we give, and pray, and weep, and go, but that most of all we go to the Vine for comfort and hope and joy, even in the midst of great loss. When buildings fall and lives are ended, we need the earth-shattering, wound-healing, voice of the Son of God who says, "Behold, I make all things new."
Lord Jesus, make Haiti new, a land where Gospel seeds are planted and Godly fruit grows into an abundant harvest. And make us new, each and every day of our lives, so that we will abide in You, for Your glory and our joy.
Chris Tomlinson, a graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the UCLA Anderson School of Business, is a businessman and writer who desires to see people realize the beauty and joy of knowing Jesus. The author of "Crave: Wanting So Much More of God," Tomlinson also blogs regularly at Crave Something More.
[Editor's note: This post was written the evening of January 13, 2010]