January 17, 2010
Haitians in the Hands of an Angry God?
Hope and despair battle in a broken nation.
“Each time there is mass devastation due to acts of nature in areas of the world, there is discussion as to whether or not these are acts of God’s judgment,” Bill Shuler, pastor of Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia, wrote recently in his article, “Is God Punishing Haiti?”
While most of the world has the luxury of debating this topic academically, Haitians – and those among them – must battle to keep not only their bodies, but also their souls alive.
USA Today captured the juxtaposition of hope and despair near the wreckage of two houses:
"It's a miracle," said Anne-Marie Morel, raising her arms to the sky after a neighbor was found alive in the rubble of a home….
"Nonsense, there is no God and no miracle," shouted back Remi Polevard, another neighbor, who said his five children were somewhere under the nearby debris.
"How could he do this to us?" Polevard yelled.
The Associated Press's Michelle Faul captured the struggle in church in Port-au-Prince this morning:
Sunlight streamed through what little was left of blown-out stained-glass windows as the Rev. Eric Toussaint preached to a small crowd of survivors. A rotting body lay in its main entrance.
“Why give thanks to God? Because we are here,” Toussaint said. “We say ‘Thank you God.’ What happened is the will of God. We are in the hands of God now.”
“I do not pretend to understand the suffering that is happening right now in this country. I know we all feel like we had had enough over the years,” Licia Betor blogged. One of their Haitian friends was trapped inside his house with his family, he the lone survivor. He yelled to would-be rescuers to leave him alone; he wanted to die with his family. He wanted only a gun to kill himself.
“It is in moments of crisis that the meaning and purpose of the church is best defined,” Shuler wrote.
The age-old question found in Genesis, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” must be answered with a resounding, “Yes!” We need to recognize and respond to our global brothers and sisters. Haiti is in need and lest we misrepresent God and his love we should act upon his commands as found in scripture, to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Sunday, Licia posted only photos – of survivors, of lines at the gas station, of streams of people walking out of Port-au-Prince – and the words of Psalm 31:8-10:
You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.