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Capturing Compassion for Haiti

Open hands at Holy in the DailyThe earth of Haiti quakes and shudders. Life ceases while news channels run endless disaster stories altering my evening TV viewing. Shock and grief glare at me. I’m amazed at my absorption in a tragedy happening thousands of miles away.

I don’t know much about Haiti except its reputation as a poor nation and its popularity with novel writers who like to sprinkle a little voodoo magic over their stories. The recent Haiti earthquake shook that land out of its insignificant and unimportant status. It survives as a tiny country currently capturing international compassion as across the globe hearts experience internal earthquakes.

Many of us do not know how to process death on such a massive scale. How do we walk with people through the process of grieving when they live so far away? Yet, this is one of our highest callings—to weep with those who weep.

To mourn with those who weep, we remember 9/11. We remember the Holocaust. These events happened. They are real. People made it through these catastrophes stronger, wiser, and with the knowledge that all of us can survive horrendous trauma and grief. Hope is based in the reality that others have experienced devastating circumstances and lived to love and laugh again. The healing process starts with shock and grief, but pushes forward in positive action.

Sometimes the Holy interrupts my day with a draw towards an event that has nothing to do with my ordinary life except to alert me to my own mortality and capture my compassion. God designed empathy to be released—mine gushed forth in tears, prayer and donations for Haiti.

How has devastated Haiti captured your heart and what are you doing about it?

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Lilly Green

    There is a real sense of helplessness in these situations, but I pray, give, and acknowledge again that the earth is groaning for the redemption of the Lord.

  2. Susan Gaddis

    I know the feeling, Lilly. Tom just preached on that topic yesterday–the earth groaning in anticipation of the redemption of the Lord. That is a scriptural and a clearer explanation of this kind of destruction then calling the earthquake an “act of God.”

    I also like the Scripture that says that God didn’t send His Son, Jesus, into the world to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). May the people of Haiti see His love through our compassion. Judgment is not our business.

  3. Jeanette Morris

    Is Haiti not our neighbor? Just a stone’s throw from our south-easterly states. That…and the memory of what our small-in-comparison earthquake in 2003 did to disrupt and disturb our lives has spurred me toward compassion in ways previous disasters have not. So far I’ve donated to three different aid funds–not huge amounts and certainly not sacrificially. But it’s a start. I personally know three people who do regular ministry work in Haiti, so I’m looking to see how I can support their continuing and now more difficult and crucial presence there. Finally, my husband and I are considering being a part of a relief team. That excites me.

  4. Cindy Saunders

    Excellent post Susan, especially in light of some other things that have attracted a lot of media this week and given Christians a “not so good” profile.

    I sent this on to a friend of mine that had generated a huge FB discussion on the whole issue – and was PROUD to do so.

    Also, it reminded me that David and I ARE intending to donate and need to REMEMBER to do so promptly!

  5. Frannie

    For many years I have been asking the Lord for an opportunity to go on Medical Mission trips and there is no time like the present to get started! I am always ready, and willing to go but need to wait for Him to open the doors. In the mean time however, I have spread the word that I’d be interested to pull a team of volunteers to go to Haiti, and I have managed to arrange for some medical supplies to be donated. I’m waiting to see what happens next with excitement and anticipation.

  6. Susan Gaddis

    Jeanette and Fran, it sounds like you two should connect! Or at least compare notes. How exciting! I look forward to hearing what develops for you both.

    And Cindy, thank you for the encouraging word. I hope your friend enjoyed the article. I appreciate you passing it on.

  7. Dolly

    If your heart is tugging at you to go to Haiti to help, consider contacting David Wheeler at Foursquare Missions dwheeler@foursquare.org to put a team together or to go with a team.
    This is what I did and it seems to be working. We have several men in construction that have signed on to help rebuild the country. We have some ladies too. We don’t have a date but are making preparations like passports and fund raising.

  8. Mary

    My power was out for over nine hours yesterday, and I admit to thinking back over this post of yours the whole time. I can be such a complainer, a big baby at inconvenience! I’m convinced the Lord used it as a purposeful opportunity to connect my heart in a richer, more prayerful way to our Haitian neighbors. And to convict me of my needy attitude. We will be doing something as well…

  9. Jeremy Sizemore

    Hi gang… I wanted to contribute too… my heart is a lot like Jeanette and Fran’s… in this “global community” I am constantly trying to re-contexualize the words of Jesus to “love my neighbor as myself”. My neighbor is no longer JUST the person in the house next to mine or even my neighboring town… Africa is my neighbor, South America is my neighbor, etc.

    So, I have been trying to figure out how I would want to be “loved” if my world was shaken and collapsed, destroying all I hold dear on this earth… like what happened in Haiti. I think I would want people to be willing to do whatever it takes to “be the solution” to my emergency. I wouldn’t feel loved with just a check, a quick prayer, or concern. I would desperately desire human touch.

    Then this got me thinking about the Incarnation… God “for us” and God “with us”. I see it as if God kept telling his children in the OT “I love you, I love you”… and He kept sending representatives (prophets, judges, kings, etc.)… but THEN He decided to not just love in just words… but in human touch. This messes with me… especially in light of the Haiti situation.

    So, I watched CNN… and out of my heart something surprising happened… that only God could do. Instead of me reacting with an initial “objective response” (“God, help them… send someone to them…”)… a new “subjective” Incarnational prayer fell out of my mouth: “Lord, can I go?” It caught me by surprise.

    In this new world of “global community” and “global economy” and all the advances in communication and transportation… I feel it is no longer about “if we are called to missions”… it is “how” and “when”. Lord, let our heart’s response be Incarnational like Yours.

    Just a thought…;-)

  10. Jeanette Morris

    Good thoughts, Jeremy. You nailed it there at the end. The word “if” does not appear in the Great Commission. Even the “when” is not a mystery if one leads a missional lifestyle. So that leaves “how.” I believe “how” begins with a willing heart–the kind of heart you have already shared with us–the heart of Isaiah: Here I am. Send me.

  11. Dolly

    Hey ya’ll for the record, I did not post at 5:35 am. It was actually only 7:35 in Oklahoma City. 🙂

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