last week i watched in great heartache as hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti. most of us were more concerned about our loved ones in florida and the rest of the east coast. i by no means intend to belittle that concern. it is valid and very real. in fact i have family that now has a flooded house.
have you been there? i'm convinced more than ever that unless you have personally visited a 3rd world country you can't fathom the devastation of this magnitude. here in America we can rebuild fairly quickly. or at least provide decent protective shelter, clean water, insurance help, we can board up our homes and businesses and head inland. in haiti: none of that exists. sure you can head up the mountain, but you now ride a hurricane out in the open on the top of a mountain. is it worth it? if you lose your goats or garden you've lost your lifeline. and your life savings.
my heart broke for Haiti. i've come to love haiti and those i call friends there. seeing the pictures were devastating. the death toll, the cholera outbreak already starting, the lack of clean water, the number of homes destroyed.
in the midst of scrolling through facebook i saw this image. i have to confess it made me sick
some people see the hand of God on florida (the good old USA). i see a slap in the face to haiti where apparently they aren't blessed enough to have the hand of God between them and the storm. i'm sure that wasn't the intent of the artist at all. or the people who gushed about God's goodness and faithfulness to us here in America.
i struggle with that.
i struggle when i hear a church say that the hand of God is on them. it is usually in reference to a growing number of congregation. isn't the small church quietly faithfully serving the Lord just as likely to have the hand of God on them?
i struggle when i hear someone say a friend that has overcome something say the hand of God was on her life. isn't the friend sitting the midst of a fire just as likely to have the hand of God on them?
i struggle when i hear that the hand of God is on americans. isn't the christian in syria just as likely to have the hand of God on them?
here's my thing. the hand of God is for everyone. God's hand is always outstretched. it is always protecting. it is always loving. it is always gentle. whether that hand is holding a mom and her baby in their tin shack in haiti while the waters rise around them in the dark, guiding the small church serving Jesus with everything they have, comforting the hurting friend, or holding tight to the christian in syria, God's hand is on them.
God's hand is IN haiti. it is there in the determination of its citizens to keep pressing on. it is there in the humaritian aid. it is there. i believe God's hand is there. Just like i believe God's hand was on my friend in the 12 years of pain before healing. the hand of God didn't arrive on healing day. it was there each and every minute in the pain.
i've been memorizing Isaiah 43. this is one of my favorite passages of truth that God is with me in whatever storms i must endure. this is how i KNOW God's hand is in Haiti.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
i'm sharing this because it is MY struggle. it is where i'm at. the place that God is using to search my heart. what do i hope to challenge myself with? choosing to see the hand of God in each and every aspect of life- both the devastating and the amazing. in each and every culture, church, relationship...for HIS hand will pass through the waters WITH us