Thursday, March 04, 2010


With scientists informing us that the 8.8 quake in Chile altered the length of the day and location of the poles by a tiny amount, I can’t help but wonder if it has moved anyone here at all.

Of course, I’m speaking of my own heart, really. I do not know you. I have no idea how this earthquake may have affected you, or moved you. I can only say that, for me, those images of destruction and despair get lost in the noise.

I have barely had time to reflect on the devastation in Haiti, and now an even greater destruction has come to Chile. What am I to do? How am I to respond?

Having donated money to an on-the-ground ministry in Haiti, I had just begun to check off the box and move on with my life. Now, this. Will another monetary gift make this one go away? And then I can’t help but wonder, how long until the next one? How long until this devastation finds us here in the United States?

What would it be like to have the earth shake violently beneath my feet? For darkness to fall over me as concrete and steel come crashing down? What would it be like to search for my sons, or my wife, and not find them? What would I do if there were suddenly no running water, no food, no medicine, and worse – no hope?

As I look at these faces covered with soot and dust, with tears streaking down and eyes full of despair in Haiti and Chile, I can’t help but wonder how long will it be until this touches me? And when it does, what will I do? And what is it that I would want someone in another nation who sees my photo on the internet to do about my pain?

A mentor of mine once said that the only mistake we can make when we consider Jesus' call to love our neighbor is not to see our neighbor in the face of the next person we meet.

But, what is the response of one who follows Christ to this endless parade of suffering and devastation? How can we be like the Good Samaritan when there is a man laying in the road on every website we visit?

At some level I know that we can only do the best we can do. We cannot berate ourselves for not taking an action that is beyond our ability. But, if it's more an issue of the heart, then I must admit that my heart is not as soft as it should be. And no amount of check-writing will change that.

I have a poster on my bedroom wall. It says, "We can only fail them if we do nothing." It is a poster to remind me of children who are orphaned and abused and exploited around the world. I look at those words and they burn in my mind. Because I wrote them. And now they echo back at me. Certainly I may have done something, but it's so small as to feel like nothing to me.

Lately I have been meeting on a weekly basis to pray with other men from our Church family. After just two weeks now I've become refreshed by these times of prayer. And one thing that has begun to stir in me is that prayer shifts my perspective to admit that there is much I cannot do.

By praying we acknowledge that we are unable to change men's hearts. We are powerless to heal others. We are helpless when it comes to divorce, and cancer, and unforgiveness, and poverty. We are insufficient. We are - by definition - 'not enough' to change these things. But God is. He can. And when we pray we begin to become filled with the great hope that He will move and act and work in ways that we can't.

Tonight I pray for the countless thousands who are suffering in Haiti, in Chile, in India, in Thailand, in the Philipines, in Africa, in North Korea, in China, and in every dark place on this globe. Yes, even in America. And I ask God to heal them, and bless them, and rescue them. And I also ask Him to send an 8.8 quake into my heart to shake up my status quo and tranform my life.

I think, honestly, that is what I would want if someone were to see my face on the internet and read of the devastation in my hometown. I would want them to lift me up in prayer. I would want to hear the voice of God. I would want to know that He had not forsaken me, or forgotten me.

Honestly, I want that now.


1 comment:

Enzo said...

Hello there my name is Enzo, I live in Chile and I just read your article in about "PAGAN CHRISTIANITY" really like it. For the last 6 years i haven't go to any kind of regular church. Yesterday I decided to visit a new project that a couple of friends are starting, and guess what... deception again, everything seems to be so empty and superficial. Everything was about money and success... anyway... the earthquake was quite something... 8.8 it's a lot of energy... according to specialist we are going to have 6 more month of earth movement... you should come i feel what is like...