The tragedy unfolding this past week in Haiti is so huge I think it's nearly impossible for any of us to really grasp the horror of it all.
My brother has been living and working in Haiti for the past couple of years. He was in his house - having gotten off work early - when the quake hit. Things started flying off shelves, his china cabinet crashed to the ground. He didn't know what was happening, but he got out of the house. When the world stopped shaking he went back in and grabbed shoes and long pants (he'd been relaxing in shorts and sandals). Three of the houses near his had collapsed. His still stood - but he's unsure how stable it is and has not gone back into it since.
The house next to his had gone down the cliff. A house two houses away had collapsed. Co-workers of his lived there. For the next six hours he helped dig them out of the house. Five of the six people living there got out alive.
He then made his way to the U.S. Embassy where he's been basically living in his office for the past week. He's gotten very little sleep as he has helped with rescues and dealt with administrative issues. In his words it is a nightmare, horrendous and something that has changed his outlook on life and on people forever.
My brother is one of the lucky ones. He is alive. His family was not living in Haiti - so they are safe. He has a roof over his head - even if it is only his office - and food provided by the military to eat. And although he may never be able to recover the possessions in his house, it is not all he owns.
Where is God in all this?
That is the natural question. How can a loving God permit this kind of tragedy?
I don't know why God permits tragedy, except that I believe God created this earth and all that is in it and watches over it, but does not micromanage it. He does not form each cloud and rainstorm at a whim. Things happen because of the natural law of the place God created.
Why doesn't he stop these tragedies? If God is all powerful, he could.
Better minds then mine have grappled with these questions and I don't think anyone has ever come up with a definitive answer.
But what I do see is the goodness of people shining through. People all over the world are donating their time, money and talents to help those who are suffering.
The world got a little smaller last week, when we realized that those in Haiti are the neighbors of everyone in this global community. And people stepped in to help their neighbors.
And there have been little miracles. Today I saw a story that a fifteen-day-old baby was pulled, alive, from the rubble of her house. Fifteen days old. She was eight days old when the earthquake struck. She has spent nearly half her life trapped in rubble. But she is alive. And her mother is alive. And they are together again.
So we praise God for the miracles, he thank him for allowing us to see the goodness in others amidst this horror and we pray, not only for the souls of those who died, but for the living, that they may find peace, that things will get better.
We pray. Because it is the least we can do.