Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weeping with those who weep

Oh Haiti! My heart mourns for your disaster, for the utter devastation that the earthquake has wrought. The pain and the loss and the questioning "why?" I weep for you as you search the rubble of a razed city, seeking desperately for survivors, hoping to recover more alive than dead. This surely is a season for mourning, the season for dancing will not come till long from now.

Haiti, how I long to come to you, to show you sympathy and to comfort you. But I am able to look at you only from this far off place. I don't recognize you, your face distorted now like the face of dear old Job, which in his affliction was unrecognizable to his friends. Like his friends, I long to raise my voice and weep, to tear my robes and sit with you, dust on our heads, crying to heaven. I would sit with you silently a week, speaking nothing, for I know that your suffering, too, is very great.

But when our week would pass, I would not open my mouth to accuse you of your sin. I would not presume upon God's purposes to explain that your forlorn condition is your fault. Of course, sin is the cause of all wickedness and suffering in the world. But I know that those whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices, and those on whom the Tower of Siloam fell were no more wicked than I. So I presume not your guilt in your adversity.

Though I would not accuse you, I am still as wicked a friend as Job's. Your affliction is not new. Your troubles have assaulted you for many days. And I have done nothing. I have not had compassion, I have not had a care for you. Have I prayed for you? Have I made your plight known? Have I done anything within my small might to assist? No. Please forgive me, even in the midst of your present anguish. I repent.

Would that I could set it all right, that I could wind back time and somehow prevent such horror from befalling you, even the first horrors you experienced before this week. I cannot undo what has been done. But I do know One who is making all things new, whose task it is to restore all things to the peace, glory, and perfection of Eden, even better, to bring them to fullness in the kingdom of God, the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

Cling to Him in your trouble, the only Christ who has suffered for you even as you are suffering, who died for you even as many of you are dying. Jesus lives for you, and because of Him, you will again see life. He will turn your suffering into hope. Let this be my wise counsel and word of comfort to you.

And I will mourn with you, but not as one without hope.

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