Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Where is God in Haiti? by Rich Stearns

A piece from the president of World Vision USA who is wrestling with the question many are asking inside and outside the church...

Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, who of us has not asked the question, “Where was God?” The sudden deaths of so many innocent people and the staggering human suffering that persists seem to mock the very notion of a loving God. Where is God in Haiti?

There was another time that God was mocked in the face of suffering and evil. It happened on Calvary as Jesus Christ, God’s own son, was spat upon, beaten, and hanged on a cross. And people asked, where was God then? If he was God, why didn’t he save himself?

God had another way. On that cross, Jesus faced all the evil that ever was or ever would be. He took upon himself the sins of mankind, the evils of injustice, the pain of suffering and loss, the brokenness of the world. He felt every pain and took every punishment for every person who would ever live.

Where is God in Haiti? Christ is not distant from us in our times of suffering. He lies crushed under the weight of concrete walls. He lies wounded in the street with his legs broken. He walks homeless and hungry through the camps. He weeps uncontrollably over the child he has lost.

Where is God in Haiti? He hangs bloody on the cross: “A man of sorrows, and familiar with our suffering” (Isaiah 53:3).

“But where is hope?” we might ask. Here, alas, we need to see something not easily seen from human perspective. We, not God, are trapped in time. We, not God, see only in part and cannot yet see the whole. We, not God, must wait for that day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

What then must we do? Unlike God, we live in the time between the already and not yet, and we must wait until then. Until then, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Until then, we are called to comfort the afflicted; give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Until then, we are to shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and grieve with the grieving. Until then, we are to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger.

We are to let our light so shine before others that they might see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven. Until then, as the apostle Paul wrote, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors … as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Until then, we must show forth God’s deep love for Haiti.

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