Earthquakes, Baltimore, and Drought
by Phil Martin
Taiwan is in the midst of an unprecedented drought.
We just found out that we won’t have any water on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the next few weeks. Our friends in Nepal are sending us heartbreaking pictures, and the news about Baltimore is very discouraging.
Weeks like these where it seems that the world can’t get any worse I tend to swing in one of two directions. Either I totally ignore the different tragedies because it inconveniences me or I drown with despair in hopelessness. I believe both are incorrect approaches and sinful.
The first is expressing “my pleasure, my plan, my world” can’t afford the intrusion at this moment. My self-centered heart does not like praying for others because it means loving your neighbor, community, and country all while in a broken world. This requires time, humility, compassion, and the willingness to get messy. The other direction brings the pressure on me. It is up to me to save the day. Everyone’s happiness depends on my efforts. Which relief organization do I give to? Which side am I on and how can I make sure I am defending my point and informing others about the “right” view? How can ensure I am prepared and have enough water for every situation? The list goes on and on and if you are anything like me you quickly fall into anxiety when you realize you can’t do everything.
One direction assumes there is no love, no solution, nothing will ever change so why bother. The other assumes this isn’t enough, people aren’t doing enough, I have to do it or no one will.
Now, there is nothing wrong with helping and being informed about different events, but the point is WE can’t save the day and WE are not the hero of this story.
The point is both ways of thinking deny God’s control, sovereignty, but most importantly love. When I ignore or just stare at the problem at hand I quickly forget the answers to these questions, Does God not care about his world, his creation, his people– the broken-spirited and despaired more than we do? Does he not uphold our lives? Does he not know our coming and our going? Does he not catch every tear in bottles? He does. He knows. He is here. He is active.
Don’t look away simply because it’s the easy thing to do, but don’t drown in helplessness either.
My prayer tonight is that these questions would quiet my soul and help me to humble myself. In this sinful world we will experience pain and suffering but in the midst of it I have hope in the one who carries me under his wings. Trust in God’s love and care for those around the world. Pray for the people in Nepal, Baltimore, and those without water because of a drought. Let a heart of prayer and humility lead his people to help in suitable ways that glorify Him.