Myanmar’s recent cyclone, China’s earthquake. Headlines. Can we take them in? Dare we let these catastrophes and the devastation they have and are causing into our psyche, into our hearts? What do we do with news like this?
For me, I tend to keep it distant. Not delve too deeply into the news stories, not really listen to or watch the video reports that show desperate people or wailing mothers. I fear being engulfed in grief and not being able to function. I\’m not sure my coping is all that healthy, all that pleasing to God.
I\’m sitting here thinking about how Jesus operated….No natural disasters are noted in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) except an earthquake that happened at the moment Jesus died, which opened the graves of the saints who came back to life and visited the townspeople. (I’m not making this up: Matthew 27:51-53). Oh, and one happened at the moment of His Resurrection too. (Matt 28:2)
We can observe,though, that Jesus was surrounded by desperate and grief stricken people. He moved toward them, some He brought healing, some He brought back to life, some He delivered. But, let it be known that He didn’t heal all of them, or bring all of them back to life or exorcise every demon. So, where does that leave us?
All that comes to mind is on our knees, asking His instruction for us regarding these things. Some of us will be called to action (go physically help or mobilize aid here for them), some will be called to give (write a check). Not everyone will be called to these actions, though. He knows what is best, best to stick with Him…
As Christians, though, I think we’re all called to pray for the survivors, the rescue workers and the decision makers. God’s mercy is desperately needed and it may be that these disasters will open a door into those areas for Jesus to walk through. May our Brothers and Sisters in Myanmar and China be encouraged and emboldened because God heard and answered our prayers for them.
Can we take in the pain, though? Well, it is easy to intellectualize prayer, isn’t it? Say our rote, obligatory prayer and call it a day. I do think, though, that prayer is a heart activity and really isn’t all that beautiful in His sight unless done with the heart. The heart is the center of compassion, pain, suffering, empathy. I think we should dare to go there, take time out and beg for mercy for others…and then look for signs of His working. I don’t think we’ll hear headline reports about miracles or the Gospel being spread…we may have to look elsewhere for news of that kind. Or, we can just trust that He is busy, busy and then He may opt to let us in on a thing or two He is doing in that area, as we pray. I’d like to think we’ll know in heaven how our prayers influenced God and how others were helped because we prayed.
I guess I have an answer to my question…time to let it in and get on my knees. May the tears be avenues for healing…