Here is a great article by Al Mohler on the recent tragedy in Haiti and how we as Christians should think and talk about such things.
And here are just a few of my own thoughts: We are expecting our fifth child in just a few weeks. I have seen my wife suffer through the pains of childbirth many times now. There are a few realities that are always present with each birth. First, my heart always goes out to her as I watch her go through indescribable pain and suffering bringing a child into the world. Second, we both are filled with indescribable joy as the pain of labor gives way to the beauty of new life. Third, this pain is a result of God’s judgment against the rebellion of His creation. Fourth, the fact that such joy can come from such pain is evidence of His sovereign redemptive work of making all things new.
What does all this have to do with Haiti? Those of us who are called by the name Christian can often be guilty of oversimplifying the way we think and talk about the world. Our worldview comes across more like paper tigers than roaring lions. In regards to tragedies of such proportions as that in Haiti, we must be far more robust and Scriptural in our response.
First, we should never be casual, cold, or distanced from human suffering whatever the reasons may be for that suffering. Of course the suffering and tragedy is a result of sin. Only sin gives birth to despair. But who among us is not guilty both in nature as sons and daughters of Adam and in practice as those whose hearts are woefully weak and sinful in light of God’s glory? Their suffering could right have been my suffering. Therefore, we will respond in heart-felt prayer to our Father in heaven on their behalf.
Second, these tragedies should remind us of the redemption that is being accomplished (both ours and the world’s) through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consider Paul’s words in Romans 8:18-23 from which we should respond with growing anticipation at the revelation that the beautiful heights of God’s merciful redemption will far surpass the depth of ugliness we are seeing right now on the streets of Haiti.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Third, we must be courageous enough to proclaim that all such tragedy and suffering are God’s judgment against sin. That is not to say that we should be presumptuous and try to make plain the hidden things of the Lord by revealing more than we are clearly told in Scripture. We are not to walk on the other side of the road looking down our self-righteous noses at the man in the ditch who was just beaten and robbed (see Luke 10). And yet, we can say with complete humility and confidence that God is sovereign over all creation, He is holy, and He is just. He does not wink at sin nor does He pour out wrath arbitrarily. He is not given to the whims of emotion nor is He an effeminate deity weeping helplessly from heaven. Every glimpse of sin’s ugly price should fill us with humility and gratitude for the cross.
Fourth, the images coming out of Haiti are in some way working toward the good of His elect, both those who have already called upon His name and those who have yet to speak the name Jesus but will certainly do so. As the earth is filled with true worshippers of the Triune God, the light of His love will continue to shine forth until the Son comes and removes even the slightest shadow of the darkness of sin, pain, and despair. All will be light. All will be love.