Sunday, January 17, 2010

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice...

...Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 130:1-2

It’s been a bit of a rough winter for us health-wise. Both of my elementary school-aged children had H1N1. My son has asthma, so that only heightened the fear with the illness. We’ve had sniffles and fevers and this week, the stomach flu. Boy, as a parent, nothing scares you and makes you feel as utterly helpless as watching your children suffer.

This weekend’s stomach flu was probably the hardest. There’s no medicine, no miracle cure, literally nothing you can do but hold them and pray they get through it. That helpless feel led me to think about what’s on everyone’s minds this week – the horrific tragedy in Haiti. I cannot imagine the suffering and pain of those who are left. It led me down two trains of thought.

First, if I feel as helpless and saddened as I do when I see my children suffering, how must God, who loves us more than any parent ever could love their child, feel when He sees the vast suffering in this world? He is compassionate and loving and is right there with those suffering just ready to put His arms around them, if only they’d ask. God is definitely there amidst the tragedy and suffering in this world. We are such a broken planet and we need Him so desperately.

The second thought was as children of God, what can we do to help ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters facing this unspeakable horror? First, of course, is to pray. And prayers are being lifted up by believers everywhere. Second, I’ve been overwhelmingly moved to do something. It’s been comforting to see the waves of support this week. The Red Cross immediately set up a simple text donation option. A quick text allows you to make a $10 donation via your mobile phone bill. At last count, the number was over $12 million in text-only donations! Of course, many other viable options are there too, and those organizations have been getting much needed help as well. I’ve marveled at postings on Facebook and Twitter as friends and others mobilize to help. Paramedics, nurses, doctors, builders – all people looking to go and do something that will make an immediate difference to relieve suffering. And, the Christian music world has embraced Haiti with donations, pleas for help from their fans and even a benefit song recorded over the past couple days. Here’s a link to an article about that effort.

The bottom line is, we must not simply allow this to affect us for the short-term, and then quickly get on with our unaffected lives. I say this as one who can so easily slip right back into my little routine and sheltered world. I need God to move in my heart every day so I don’t become complacent.

As followers of Christ, there’s an obligation to be the hands and feet of Jesus to walk with our suffering brothers and sisters. With all the medical ability at our fingertips, my children have quickly recovered from their illnesses. Our suffering brothers and sisters in Haiti and around the world, do not have it so easy. My prayer is that good will come out of this, and the many other tragedies in the world. Our compassion and love for our brothers and sisters must show up in ongoing, tangible ways. By those actions, Christians can point others to the eternal saving power of the Cross and the hope of salvation that only comes through belief in Jesus Christ.

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