There is much I do not know about Haiti. My knowledge of that country is small. I know that it is a country wracked with a combination of problems due to geography, poverty, government corruption and weather. From missionaries I have heard that it is a spiritually dark country. I know that it has had something like 15 major disasters since 2001—including killer storms and floods.
But now we all know that a magnitude 7 earthquake has devastated this country and it could in fact be the deadliest earthquake on record. Death toll estimates range from tens of thousands to near 100,000, but right now nobody knows for sure.
We also know that Haiti is our neighbor and that Biblically we have a responsibility to love our neighbors, especially in a time of need.
While President Obama has promised an “all our rescue and humanitarian effort including military and civilian emergency teams from across the U.S,” I want to encourage you to support especially Christian humanitarian agencies which are on the ground and can minister in the name of Christ.
Numerous organizations are mobilizing to lend a hand. Authorities rightly caution people to beware of scammers. But in your caution, do not fail to help those who are active providing relief and hope. Encourage your church to send a gift as well that can be given in the name of Jesus. Here is an incomplete list of agencies that are trying to help.
Food for the Hungry International www.fhi.org
World Concern www.worldconcern.org
World Relief www.worldrelief.org
World Vision www.worldvision.org
We will never know immediately why these disasters happen, except that we live in a fallen, broken world, where, according to the Bible, creation itself is groaning and waiting its day of redemption (Romans 8.18ff). Apart from that, the “why” question in “natural” disasters remains elusive. But we can address the “what” question.
Once Jesus heard about a tower that fell on people. Some were second guessing why it fell on this group and not that group. Jesus did not try to explain the “why” but immediately moved to the “what” and said, “I tell you, …unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13.1-5).
So besides sharing resources with those in need, pray that this terrible event would remind many people in Haiti and around the world to repent of their sins and turn to God. For a far more sobering day awaits the world—a day of judgment when everyone will give account to their maker. According to Jesus, every disaster should be a wake-up call for us to make sure that we are right with God and have reckoned with his Son in whom there is eternal life.
Meanwhile, realize the immensity of what is before us. Pray for the people of that Haiti. And help those who are on the front lines serving in the name of Christ.