Friday, January 15, 2010

What's God Up To - in Haiti?

Did you see the front page picture in the Oregonian today?  The picture (left) shows a reunion of a daughter and her mother who was, thankfully, pulled from a collapsed building in Haiti.   It's only been a couple of days since the terrible quake struck the poor, tiny nation and revealed once again how fragile we humans are.  We've quickly been swamped with hundreds of images of dead bodies and broken people searching for loved ones.  The ability to send massive numbers of these images and communicate instantly across the globe begins to numb us to the reality of the suffering.  Our gut reaction is to feel sorrow and a profound lack of hope.  What can we do anyway?  Maybe that's why the editor of the paper featured a picture of a successful rescue and reunion on the front page.  The image of someone rescued, reunited with family, rekindles hope.
We're lost without hope. soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind 
 and therefore I have hope:
 Because of the LORD's great love 
we are not consumed, 
 for his compassions never fail. - Lamentations 3:20-22
Hope breaks through the numbness that so easily overtakes us - whether we are the sufferers, or the observers.  Hope invites us to expect God to act to us, with us, through us - again whether we are the sufferers, or those who can offer help.

The passage for this week's message is from Isaiah 62:1-5 and it is a word of hope for the hopeless.  Verse 4 has a message that will be so important for the people of Haiti to hear in the weeks and months ahead:

Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City”
      or “The Desolate Land.”
   Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight”
      and “The Bride of God,”
   for the Lord delights in you
      and will claim you as his bride.
Despite Pat Robertson's bizarre ideas about Haiti making a "pact with the devil" (and the devil somehow having the inclination or power to keep "his end" of the bargain and free Haiti from slavery) and calling the quake a "blessing in disguise," we can be assured that God has not forsaken Haiti.  Because there is hope, God remembers his people and will be working to repair and recreate.  We, as his people, get the privilege of joining in this work with him.  Even if we're not going to Haiti, we can send resources to support those who are helping.  In the process, our prayers are answered and our hope begins to be restored.  Maybe our salvation is tied with our response to God using us to be a part of someone else's rescue and recreation as well.   If so, apathy not only spells doom for those we fail to help, but for ourselves as well.

On Sunday we'll study hope and Isaiah 62 as it relates to us personally - how God makes us beautiful.  Pray and respond generously for the suffering people of Haiti.
- Curtis