Tsunami Response

(With the current devastating situation from the earthquake in Haiti (2010) I will be resending a few devotionals related to natural disasters.)

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. – Titus 1:15-16.

Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. – Psalm 41:1-2.

The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. – Psalm 103:6-8.

In the past week, we have seen the news from the Pacific Rim grow worse and worse. A week ago the headlines were “Tidal Wave Kills More than 13,340 – Strongest Quake in 40 Years fuels tsunamis, ramming miles of Asian coast; rescuers mobilize.” By Sunday, a week later, the headlines read, “Anguish in Asia deepens – The death toll may reach 150,000 as health risks grow more ominous.” The President of Indonesia was quoted as saying, “We mourn, we cry and our hearts weep.”

Some might say that this is evidence that there is no God. However, I believe that the response to the Tsunami is evidence there is a God. God cares for the poor and the oppressed. God cares about those who are hurting. The response from the world in response to this great disaster is an outpouring of help through the giving of funds and the providing of physical aid. It is a response that has been generated by a God embedded desire in the human nature to help those in need of help. It is evidence that God is alive and well.

Sadly, however, there is another headline that needs to be written. It is a headline directly from Titus 1 revealing that the natural conscience and God embedded human desire to help others has been corrupted in some people. It is a headline about the unaffected. You could possibly say it would be a headline about the heartless or the godless.

Some people simply ignore disasters like this and go on living as if there had never been a disaster. After all they think, it happened to someone else. I can somewhat understand that attitude from those who live in some other country far removed from the Pacific Rim region. But I was startled Friday to learn that there are still tourists flocking into the region to – not to help – but to vacation. In Phuket, Thailand, some hotels were spared destruction and at those hotels right next to death and destruction – are tourists. Many are even out on the beach, a beach of death, sunning, laying on beach towels, frolicking in the surf, riding jet skis – seemingly oblivious to the tragedy that only recently visited the place.

Now some are saying that they have paid for their hotel rooms, and their flights, and so they are going to get their money’s worth. How they can do that in the midst of so much death and destruction is beyond me to understand. Only a short distance down the beach there are still bodies washing up on the shore, and still bodies being found amidst the ruble of destroyed structures. The insensitive, oblivious, tourists of Phuket seem to have no cares and continue on with their lives just as if nothing had ever happened.

So, what does that have to do with us? I think it should be a sober reminder that in our own communities, there are similar disasters, on a much smaller scale, that occur every day. People all around us are, figuratively speaking, swept out to sea, hit by tsunamis they did not see coming. They are floundering emotionally, spiritually and financially. Their lives have been shredded to ribbons. Their relationships are coming apart at the seams. Everyday around us there are people who die and go out into eternity without Christ. It is an eternal disaster and yet what is our response even when we know we have failed them? We go on with acting and living the same way we always have ignoring the great spiritual need that we have in our own backyard. This Tsunami ought to be a wakeup call for us. It ought to wake us up to the great needs all around us.

If we have a conscience, if we are children of God, we should respond to the Tsunami disaster. In addition, we should respond to the little disasters of life happening all around us. How would God have you to respond?

(Do you have any sensitivity to the pain of others?)

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