[PC-USA] 2005-01-01 - Tsunami Redux

I was so glad to receive Tim's devotional about the Asian tragedy. I have given thought and prayer to this, myself. I agree with all that Tim said in his devotional, and I have some additional thoughts. What are we, as Christians, to do with this?

First, we are not to judge. Some people tend to jump on the "what were they doing wrong" bandwagon when a horrible event occurs. But first, when you look at all the innocents (such as infants) affected, you realize that this is not an appropriate response. Besides, as Job taught us, that's bad theology anyway. God wasn't so happy with Job's friends, who decided he must have brought the tragedy on himself. In an ironic twist, God required penance of those judgmental "friends," and it was Job who interceded with God for them at the conclusion of the story.

Also we are not to jump on the doomsaying bandwagon. Every time there is a catastrophic event, you can count on some people pointing to this as a sign of the end of the world. But it's not our business to predict this. Jesus made that abundantly clear. He said that not even He - God's own Son and our Savior - knows the date and time. So certainly we can't.

Ever since the creation of the world, every time something catastrophic happens, people point to it as "a sign of the end," from wars to supervnova exploding, to illness epidemics to terrorisim to floods to hurricanes to tidal waves. Jesus told us to be ready, but He didnt' tell us to sit around speculating on the time and date.

So how are we to be "ready?" By being about our Father's work. It's a waste of our precious gifts of time and energy to use them up on something we can't figure out anyway, the date/time of the "end times." We have plenty of work to do. Each person reading this has a part. Even if you have limited abilities, God wants to use you.

Which leads me to my final thought. We have discussed some things we should not be doing. But what should we do with this? We should each evaluate our resources and abilities, to determine what God wants US to do. These are His children who have been devastated, and it is our responsibility to make their pain our pain, just as Paul reminded us to "weep with those who weep" and to suffer the pain of those in prison, as if we were in prison with them.

Each person reading this can do something. If you are reading this on free e-mail, and you have no financial resources, you can pray (as we all should). Concerted prayer is needed - for those who have lost loved ones, those who have traumatizing/life-changing injuries, those who have lost homes and livelihoods, emergency workers, church and charity leaders who must allocate money given for assistance.

If you are able to help financially, every dollar can make a difference. For example, in that part of the world, $10 can provide a sari, cooking utensils and a blanket. But in keeping with good stewardship, be sure to give your dollars to a trustworthy organization. Even some well-known organizations spend a disproportionate percentage on administrative costs. (I will be glad to supply you with a list of several good agencies, if you need it.)

A small number of us can even volunteer for emergency response teams. Whatever your situation, you can do something to assist. As Christ reminded us, those of us who are "haves" are responsible for helping those who are "have nots."

Comments or Questions,

[email jan] cfdevpray@juno.com