Hurt. Help. Hope.

As I write this post, reports are pouring in that Haiti has just experienced an aftershock of 6.1 magnitude. Coming on the heels of the 7.0 quake which decimated the already impoverished nation, the aftershock is yet more evidence that the struggle is not over. Human memory is inclined to move on. Our prayers tend to lose focus and fervency as time fades the shock and horror of massive suffering.

Topics: Suffering

As I write this post, reports are pouring in that Haiti has just experienced an aftershock of 6.1 magnitude. Coming on the heels of the 7.0 quake which decimated the already impoverished nation, the aftershock is yet more evidence that the struggle is not over.

Human memory is inclined to move on. Our prayers tend to lose focus and fervency as time fades the shock and horror of massive suffering. Nestled in our warm homes, surrounded by stocked pantries, united with friends and families, we feel safe and far from the hurt of Haiti. The aftershock is a reawakening, a reminder that though we might suppress the suffering from our thoughts, the effects of the earthquake are by no means extinguished.

How are we to think of the suffering that is being experienced? How do we as Christian consider the torment, anguish, despair, and affliction? Is it simply life in a fallen world, outside of the control or concern of our Creator? Is it justice and wrath poured out upon a perverse people?

First, we can feel the pain. As Josh Patterson recently wrote to the staff, “I want to encourage you to spend some time actually thinking about the suffering in Haiti.  Get online and look at the pictures.  Stare into the eyes of a nation in utter ruin.  Think about the loss and mourn with them.  Certainly we are all conscious of what happened, but how many of us have truly taken the time to feel it?  I believe we will miss an opportunity here if we gloss over this calamity from a distance.”

Second, we can think about this in light of the diverse biblical data on God’s rule and reign and the relationship between His sovereignty and man’s sin. Al Mohler has written an excellent article that helps to illuminate the situation in Haiti in particular. I highly encourage you to take the time to digest his thoughts. In addition, Desiring God has a number of resources on former natural disasters that I have found extremely helpful in the past.

Third, we can help. From the church’s missions blog, we find the following ways to assist:

Feel the pain and think deeply. Allow those thoughts and feelings to overflow into prayer to our Sovereign and benevolent Father, Who is the Father of all comforts (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). Open your Bible…get on your knees…dig into your savings. Hurt. Help. Hope.

Related Resources

Article

The Seasonal Nature of Lent

Jonathan Woodlief

The season of Lent is an invitation to meet Jesus in our suffering. It drives us toward the love of God and reminds us that Jesus shares in our sufferings and we get to share in His—all for the purpose of becoming more like Him.

Talk

The Season of Lent

Matt Chandler

The season of Lent is about identifying with the suffering and temptation of Jesus Christ for 40 days preceding Holy Week. In it, we orient and prepare our hearts to the weight of sin and death in order to celebrate the Resurrection all the more fully.

Article

Giving Up My Own Way for Lent

Erin Brindley

Jesus’ confession in the garden gives permission to those on a Lenten journey to say, “I don’t want to, but I want to want to.” The first thing we should give up for Lent is our desire to self-protect against suffering that sanctifies.