What can be done?
Grace is such an odd thing for me to understand. If you are like me, sometimes your compassion gets the best of you and you dwell on the problems and trials of others. Sometimes, the trials and problems are your own, and you can’t keep your mind off of them.
These days, it isn’t hard to find people struggling and suffering. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere; it borders and shares an island with the nation of the Dominican Republic, which is much more affluent. To the North, the United States of America is the richest country in the world. Recently, the nation of Haiti was struck by a terrible earthquake. Many people are shocked at the destruction of the Port Au Prince, the capital city; and the death toll is rising above 200,000 (at the time of this writing).
Earthquakes come into our lives spiritually, too. Sometimes they are below the surface, but create waves and bursting ripples of emotion when they reach the waters edge of our souls. Other times they are extremely drastic and there is apparent destruction. They leave damage that penetrates the mind, body and spirit. There are times when the damage can destroy souls – for a time, even eternally.
Are we safe? Can we ever be safe? What does the Christian do to effect a reconstruction of the damage when an earthquake strikes our mortal bodies? How do you watch chaos, knowing that what needs to be done is something that is either a mile or a minute outside of your capabilities.
The answer… nothing.
Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) ”or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:5-13)
I looked up the passage in Deuteronomy that the Apostle Paul quoted from in this part of God’s word from the book of Romans. Moses was giving his farewell sermon to the Israelite nation and he told them to follow God and reject turning away from him. Moses, in conclusion, essentially told them that in following God, the Lord isn’t asking them to do something impossible or beyond their ability. Moses wrote:
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).
So, dear Christian, do nothing. Do absolutely nothing. Turn back to your Lord, renew your mind in the knowledge of truth in Jesus. God is in control. He planned from time and eternity to save me and you and there is no earthquake that can shatter that. Again, Paul quote Isaiah the Old Testament prophet to bring the thought to completion, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame”.
If you are moved and able to help those in Haiti, fantastic. Bring them the message of peace through faith in Christ. If you are not, pray for their recovery. Be resourceful in the good that you can do to serve the Lord out of thankfulness. If you are in the middle of an earthquake in your life, or are troubled with the thorns in another’s flesh, focus and help them to concentrate on Jesus who even controlled the wind and the waves. And, when the dust settles and the debris clears in your own life, you will see Jesus standing their – clearly with your soul’s eyes – and you will find that all along he was carrying you through this worst of many trials in your life.
God’s word is in our hearts and minds through reading his Word. Pray. Give thanks. And know that our Savior-Friend-Brother-God, Jesus, has done it all for you and me.