On Tuesday, October 4th, Haiti was slammed by Hurricane Matthew--described by some as the worst storm to strike the country in 50 years. Our partners in Haiti live and work mainly in the central and northern parts of the country and suffered minimal damage. But, the ministry extends into the south and west, the area most heavily damaged.
Haiti’s natural disaster is complicated by an unstable political climate. Weak governance combined with an underdeveloped infrastructure bodes poorly on an effective emergency response to help in times of greatest need.
All of that doesn’t really matter if you are in the disaster zone. The trauma of surviving 145 mph winds and torrential rains is personal. It is you and your family who are huddled in a ramshackle hut before it blows down and is washed away. It is you who has to search for sparse medical care to treat horrendous wounds. It is you who has to scavenge for food and quest for untainted water. Natural disasters are best understood from the perspective of the people in them.
As believers, it can be overwhelming, even paralyzing, trying to figure out how to respond to human suffering. Often we ignore it and attempt to push responsibility to someone else. That’s what the religious leaders tried to do in the story of the compassionate Samaritan.
Maybe we should look to Jesus. After seeing the pain of Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus, we’re told in John 11 that Jesus was “deeply moved and greatly troubled” and He wept. So, the question, “When is the last time I wept over the pain of others?”
Let’s prayerfully ask the Lord to sensitize our eyes to see those in need, soften our hearts to risk compassion, and motivate our feet to “Go and do likewise.” Let’s desire to be servants of the King.