Friday, January 22, 2010

When Lives Are Shaken

When the tectonic plates six miles beneath the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti moved against each other on January 12, they sent shock waves that shook not only the buildings of Port-au-Prince, but the lives of all that watched the aftermath unfold. Those first scenes of people frantically waving their arms from small openings in pancaked buildings had us all wanting to reach out with a helping hand. The outpouring from around the world has literally been so overwhelming that it cannot even be accommodated by the broken infrastructure of Haiti.

If you have given, prayed, or packed up your bags to go and help in Haiti, why did you do it? Was it not because you had to? Was it not because you were so moved by the reports and images that you did what only came natural to do? I know that is why I gave. That is why I have prayed and cannot stop praying for Haitians, missionaries, aid workers, reporters, and military chaplains that are there among the hurting, the dead, and the dying. The tragedy in Haiti certainly deserves everything that has been done and even more.

I wonder if the shock waves reverberating through the families in our communities deserve the same response. What of the young boy that just saw the police handcuff his father and take him off to jail? Yes, I know that he may not have had a beam fall on top of him and crush his leg, but his spirit has certainly been crushed. What about the woman that came in my office today looking for a pastor to conduct the funeral of her boyfriend that just killed himself two days ago? No, she isn’t pinned beneath tons of rubble without food or water, but she is devastated and doesn’t know if she can hang on much longer. Does she deserve a search and rescue team to help remove the walls that have come crashing down upon her? What about the three young children in my community that lost their mother ten days ago when their dad decided that killing her was the only way that he could deal with their marriage problems? No, their house did not fall down, but their family has collapsed. Are they worthy of a response? Why does it take images from disasters in foreign nations to move us? Is it because our eyes are closed to the ones that are all around us? If so, I pray that we might have eyes to see what Jesus sees and ears to hear what Jesus hears.

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