(I wrote this six years ago. This week, Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now it makes its way to Florida. As residents there hunker down, lets pray for God’s peace and protection during the storm.)
The images coming out of Haiti are devastating. What is even more devastating is some of the commentary surrounding it.
Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club, mentioned that since the Haitian people made “a pact with the devil” years ago, we could draw our own conclusions about why this devastating earthquake hit their homeland. I couldn’t help but wonder…
Do his words represent the kind of hope and peace and love Jesus spoke of?
Before you jump to conclusions, this is not a Robertson bashing. Rather, I feel his words serve as a reminder to all Christians to avoid the urge to speak before thinking, or judge without lending a hand.
It’s distressing when Christians try to make sense of a senseless act. Whether it is a natural disaster, a friend’s miscarriage, the rape of a teenage girl, or a terrorist attack, we are too quick to pass judgment and scramble for a reason to explain why it happened. It’s as if we can somehow lessen the blow if we can just find an answer. A pat explanation. A flawed attempt at reason. Anything to fill the silence after someone asks, “Why?” Just say something, we tell ourselves, and then the world will make sense again.
I, too, have been guilty of this. But the longer I walk with God, the more I realize this approach to tragedy will never work. This broken world will never make sense, nor will we have all the answers. But I am thankful there is One who does.
Jesus promised to comfort those who mourn. The Old Testament speaks of a God who longs to bind up the brokenhearted and turn the ashes of our lives into striking beauty. And in the midst of inevitable trouble in this world, Jesus proclaimed that he had overcome it.
As Christians, our focus should not be on whether Haitians, (or anyone else, for that matter) “serve the devil” or somehow, because of their past, deserved what happened to them. After all, which of us deserves any of the mercy God has shown us in our own lives?
I’m reminded of the blind man whom the disciples quickly judged, asking Jesus if it was the man or his parents and that sinned and subsequently, caused his blindness. Jesus replied “Neither this man nor his parents sinned…but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”
God glorified in Haiti. Imagine that.