It doesn’t take a tragedy on the magnitude of the one in Haiti to get people asking “Where was God?” and “Why did He let this happen?”
I’m sure God doesn’t mind honest questions. He knows us, knows our finite understanding and the troubles that are too deep to articulate. I’m equally sure He does not appreciate it when we set ourselves up as His judges, especially since we don’t have all the information.
Whatever our circumstances, it’s worth asking “Where are You, God? What do You want me to learn?” Another good question is “What do You want to do through me?”
Where is God in Haiti? He’s giving strength to the relief workers, whether they recognize it or not. He’s giving courage to the suffering, if they’ll receive it. He’s shining brightest through the people who are in relationship with Him, who can listen to and rely on His Spirit.
Someone called Jesus “God with skin on” and that’s what Christians are to be: the visible means through which God works to touch the world and to show who He really is. Being human, we fail more often than we succeed, but as long as we’re obedient to Him and relying on Him, people can see the difference.
God is in the details, the personal experiences. He had people in place to help physically, and others already praying even though they didn’t know why.
I spoke with a woman who’d been invited to visit Haiti this January. She and her husband sensed it wasn’t the time. They were in Canada, safe, during the earthquake, and God used her as a voice here for the mission there. An email from one of the mission leaders said a voice told him not to leave the shaking building but to shelter under a desk. The rubble at the exit proves he would have died.
On another mission team, one member felt the need to cut short his time and return home. From Canada, he too was able to pray and to be of service. The rest of his team survived the quake and provided support until they had to leave.
God was in the finding of the 15-day old baby, alive after a week in the rubble. In the elderly woman found under the ruined cathedral, who sang so that rescuers could find her. And in the deaths of so many, including the Canadian nurse who’d just arrived to volunteer. I don’t understand, but I trust His character enough to know He can take all this brokenness and make something beautiful.
If we let Him. He won’t push past our defences any more than He would suspend the natural forces that caused the devastation.
We’re all inundated with opportunities to give to Haiti relief. If for some reason you’ve held off but now think it’s time, here are some links that might interest you:
Cup of Cold Water Click on the “earthquake relief” tab for updates from Haiti: news of the ministry compound (including orphanage) in Vignier, Haiti, and of relief efforts.
Canadian Baptist Ministries Click “emergency relief” and then “Haiti earthquake”.