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Haiti Earthquake


The recent earthquake in Haiti has felt more personal to me than many other catastrophic events have done for many years. I have a friend who is a teacher at a school in Port au Prince, Haiti and she was walking home when the earthquake struck. She and her family are ok. I have been receiving first hand accounts of the devastation from her and those she works with. The terrible images I see on the news feel much more personal because of this.

Five years ago we had the Asian Tsunami - I wrote my perspective of God and suffering (see here). Re-reading it now my views haven't changed - although the first part seems colder than I remember and the second far more encouraging. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised really.

But something is happening in Haiti that is not being reported. There are many many Christians in Haiti and they are receiving much love and support from their Christian friends there and around the world. The exchanges of encouragement and prayer and songs that I see pouring in through facebook and twitter are a wonder to me amongst such devastation. A real light in darkness. One Christian wrote: 'another large, rumbling aftershock that sent us out into the streets again. Then we heard singing from the ravine, in Creole translated, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, All Other Ground is Sinking Sand. The Haitian people are amazing!" Another wrote 'They are amazing. Singing and praising God, talking about how He is with us and loves us. Those at our house were singing "Showers of Blessing."'

So when I'm asked "why did God allow this to happen?" I just answer "why did God - with perfect foreknowledge - create a world where He knew that Jesus would suffer and die?" You don't know the answer. And to try and know is just arrogance. Just know that God is with us. Jesus didn't talk about stopping bad things from happening. He always talked about how to draw strength from Him so we could cope when bad things do happen. And the Christians in Haiti are doing this heroically. A verse I see often quoted:

  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

I was delighted that we sang this in Church today - the same song the Haitians were singing....

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Keep praying, keep giving....

John Bell
Irvine, January 2010

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