Pray. Send aid. Prepare to go and help rebuild. Do whatever you feel called to do, but at least take some time to pray for the people of Haiti today. As we’ve all seen reported on every news outlet up and running, much of Haiti was devastated by a huge earthquake Tuesday afternoon and by dozens of aftershocks since then. The time immediately after a disaster of this magnitude may not be the most appropriate time to start moralizing, but when most of us are observing from a distance, our thoughts naturally turn to questions like “What if that had happened to us?”
My three-year-old daughter fell while we were in Oklahoma a couple of days ago, and she had to get four stitches in her chin. It was the worst injury she’s sustained in her short life. As small as it was, it seemed fairly traumatic for my family at the time. But then I see pictures like those all over the internet coming out of Haiti, and I’m shocked and horrified. What if my babies were in that rubble? What if our homes and towns were destroyed? What if it all happened in an instant without warning like it did in Haiti?
We’re already hearing reports about the need for advanced warning for earthquakes. There are scientists talking about predictive events and unquantifiable factors. And the reality, for now at least, is that we just can’t predict these natural disasters with real certainty. The same can be said about the day Christ returns to judge the world. We can’t say for sure when it will happen, only that it is sure to happen. When it does, we won’t see the innocent suffer anymore, but there will be upheaval like the world has never seen.
What happened in Haiti should remind us that our lives are fragile, and every breath is a gift from God. We cannot predict the future with much exactness, but we know that our lives will come to an end at some point—whether today or fifty years from now. So our response in light of the world’s tragedies should be to pray for the innocent, mourn the destructiveness of sin and death, and live faithfully in ways that give us real hope regardless of what tomorrow brings.
As we think about our own lives, let’s not forget the lives lost and the lives traumatized because of the earthquake in Haiti. May God bless them, and may the church be a source of light during their time of darkness.