Archive for "earthquake"

Haiti Earthquake Faultfinding

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:1-5
I don’t even know how to respond when I hear words like Pat Robertson uttered yesterday. My first response is anger and outrage and, as I often do as a believer, I feel so TERRIBLY misrepresented by the “Christian perspective” portrayed in the media. And although in ways, I recognize that anger can not only be necessary, but can also be righteous and good, I know that my thoughts are not erring toward righteousness right now. I tend to spit back blind judgementalism when I feel that it’s been spit at me. I have often said that my greatest struggle with being judgemental is not toward unbelievers, but rather towards other Christians who seem narrow and shortsighted. That is very true this for me this morning. But I MUST live by words that I believe to be truth: If we err as Believers, we must err on the side of compassion. That is my battle this morning and I do not know which side will win. It is in moments like this that I am thankful that there are people in my life, in my personal community, much wiser than I. It is in times like this that I depend on their counsel, their wisdom, their discernment, to ultimately see and trust the goodness of Jesus through their words. So I give to you this morning the words of my pastor and friend and counselor – words that are emailed to me each and every morning and are waiting when I wake up to start my day with some notion of God-ward reflection. These were the words of Scotty Smith this morning:
Heavenly Father, this may be as close as I ever get to praying like one of the “raw” Psalms in which your people express consternation, outrage and anger. I’m gonna put it right out there this morning…no dancing around…no carefully nuanced language. Please meet me where I am but take me where you wish, by the truth of the gospel and the work of your Spirit. I am so thankful for Jesus’ words from Luke’s gospel I just read before beginning this prayer. I’m desperate for his perspective. I need a big dose of gospel-sanity today.
Father, I’m still fuming this morning about a commentary offered by a Christian broadcaster suggesting that the horrific earthquake in Haiti was a result of a prior pact with the Devil. What an outlandish, cavalier, irresponsible, self-righteous thing to say! I hope I would be just as grieved overhearing that same comment from a stranger while standing in line to buy groceries, as hearing it broadcast over a TV show that reaches multiple continents and millions of viewers.
Father, what incites and ignites my, hopefully “godly anger,” is his gross misrepresentation of you and his groundless exalted notion of us. If I follow the logic of his reasoning, countries that are enjoying geo-physical stability, prospering economies, and well-functioning infrastructures are under your blessing. And countries that are subject to climactic upheaval, great poverty and a steady stream of calamities are under your judgment. That makes you look more like a programmable sugar-daddy than a Sovereign God who does all things well…
Oh, Father, as you know far better than me, some of the wealthiest and most “stable” countries in the world primarily worship gods other than you, and some of the poorest and most instable countries have the largest percentage of those who passionately adore and faithfully follow your Son, the Lord Jesus…. Okay, I can tell I need to turn the direction of this prayer…
Merciful Father, I want to acknowledge what I believe to be true about me, today. It’s only because of your mercy that I’m still alive and enjoy whatever creature comforts you’ve afforded me. I fall short of your glory, every day, all day long. If I got what I deserve, it would be your judgment. Though I’ve never made a pact with the Devil, I’ve surely believed his lies, danced with him, and have acted upon his temptations, seductions and accusations.
Grace-full Father, it’s only because of your “pact”—your covenant of grace… the riches of the gospel… my standing in Christ, that I know that you love me… and all your people throughout history, placed everywhere on the globe. I don’t have to understand all the mysteries of providence. I do know that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and earthquakes do come to worshipers of idols and followers of Jesus alike.
So where does this leave me today? Please make me ten times more merciful and generous towards the Haitians in the coming hours and weeks, than angry and preoccupied with a very, very bad TV commentary. I don’t want to live like one of Job’s friends, but like one of Jesus’ followers. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ name.