Two days ago an earthquake leveled much of Haiti. It is a disaster, and hundreds of thousands of people are affected. This can’t help but touch anyone who doesn’t have a calloused heart. But I find myself affected in another way. Every time a disaster strikes somewhere in the world–whether large scale or affecting only a handful of people–there are inevitable responses from Christians and from those who would challenge people of faith.
This week, a well known Christian “leader” pronounced that the earthquake was God’s judgment on Haiti. His remark has drawn a deluge of responses from unbelievers (“The religious nuts are at it again”) and believers (“This does *not* represent us!”). Amidst this background comes the question always asked–by believers and non believers alike: “How could a loving God do this (or let this happen)? High profile Christian leaders typically answer along the lines of “there are things we just can’t understand”.
While that is certainly true, this isn’t one of them. The most basic Christian teachings answer the question. But for some reason, we are either unaware of the answer, or afraid of it. Here are two basic responses I believe all Christians should be ready to offer.
1. The scripture teaches that sin entered the world through Adam, and that when that happened all creation was affected. Natural disasters, disease, “accidents”, crime–it is all a direct result of our sin. This said, for me to think that Haiti is being punished more for their sin is just plain arrogant. ALL humanity and creation is under judgment.
2. The Christian response to this judgment is not to sit back and throw stones at people who are experiencing the results of the fall. It is to offer service and hope. God does not look for ways to further punish humanity for sin. His plan was to show the way humanity can be saved from that sin! The good news about Jesus is that the curse isn’t the last word. Those of us who know that need to embody Jesus’ love by providing any assistance we possibly can to those in need, and letting them know the reason is we have hope because of the sacrifice of Jesus.