I try and steer away from tying in a blog post to a current event. My thinking is this gives the posts a more timeless element so that they can be applicable regardless of when you read them. The recent earthquake in Haiti (and subsequent aftershocks) has given me reason to break my unwritten rule. Looking at the pictures of devastation is heartbreaking. There is a great outpouring of support from the world at large which is heartening. At least we have not totally lost our soul; not yet anyway. As followers of Christ we must ask, “What is our response to the tragedy in Haiti?”
The most basic tenet of Christianity is to care for the poor and needy. Haiti is a poor country. They were before the earthquake; they are even more so now. As Christians it is our duty to serve them. We should have been serving them all along, but perhaps this tragedy will awaken our slumbering hearts. In mere moments, tens of thousands found themselves homeless, hungry and without basic sanitation. Tens of thousands more are no longer among the living. In the blink of an eye their lives ended and we lost the opportunity to serve them and to share the love of Jesus with them. It’s too late. We waited too long. We waited because missionary work was always someone else’s job. We waited because we were too afraid to give of our time or our money or ourselves. We waited because we were simply indifferent to the plight of a poor nation thousands of miles from our front door. While we waited, Jesus wept. He gave all He had for us. He died for us. He set the perfect example for our response to those in need. We ignored it.
Now, we are awake. Our eyes are open to the plight of these dear people. Each one of them is created in the image of God. Each one of them is loved unconditionally by the same Savior we call Lord. Do we love them? Are we willing to give everything we have to serve them? Will we open our checkbooks, our cupboards or our life to them? They are our brothers and sisters. Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, in his terrific “The Hole in Our Gospel”, writes “Authentic faith, rooted in the heart of God, is expressed in deeds done to ease the pain of others; it is imbued with personal sacrifice, and it comes with a cost.”
This is our opportunity; this is our time of great decision. We can rise up and stand with people of Haiti, or we can turn our back on Jesus and all we profess to believe. In a couple of weeks, Haiti will be off the front page, but the need will remain for years to come. So I ask again, what is our response to Haiti? Will we be unchanged by the tragic events or will we use it to open our eyes to the poor and suffering all over the world? Haiti needed us before the earthquake, and few of us did anything. Are we awake now? Do we now see the need that has been there all along and is far greater now? What will our response be to Haiti and the rest of the world in need? Whatever we do for them, we do for Jesus; if we turn away, we turn away from Jesus. How will you respond?