Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Battle in Haiti

Last night, I was listening to the Joseph story and came to the part where Joseph is thrown into prison after Potiphar's wife falsely accuses him of attacking her.  I was struck by the next verse: "But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him" (Gen 39:20-21).  By earthly standards, it certainly didn't seem like God was favoring Joseph---falsely accused, innocent yet imprisoned.  We might think that if God saw Joseph in his plight and cared for him, He would break him out of prison and vindicate him before his accusers.  However, Joseph remained in prison for some time longer than two years, and yet "the Lord was with him."

A few days ago, Ben (a newlywed who moved to Haiti with his wife last fall to work at a school, and who has been swept up unexpectedly into relief efforts) was asked if he thought the devil knew he was defeated in Haiti.  Ben thought, "This woman clearly has not seen enough dead bodies, food riots, looting and general devastation to know that right now evil is alive and well in Haiti."  The devil certainly does seem to be having a heyday.

I heard it said a number of years ago that Haiti was one of the darkest nations in the world, spiritually speaking.  As I was going to bed, I spent a moment praying for Haiti, and asked God that many of the relief workers flooding into the country would be Christians who would shine the light of Christ into Haiti's darkness---when suddenly I recalled the end of Joseph's story: After Jacob's death, Joseph's brothers fear he'll take vengeance for their mistreatment of him; but, Joseph tells them, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen 50:20).

From a human perspective, it feels like the devil is winning in Haiti---hunger and suffering are rampant, death and destruction are at every turn, and it's possible (likely?) everything will get worse before it gets any better.  But, I wonder if from an eternal perspective things look a little different:  Could the earthquake signal the beginning of a last great battle for Haiti, as Christ (through His body, the Church) comes galloping in to unseat forever the powers of darkness that have held Haiti in their grasp?  The devil surely meant the quake for evil, but perhaps God means it for good.  And in the midst of the turmoil, we can take courage (John 16:33), for the victor is the same one who said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt 28:20).

1 comment:

Andy Culbertson said...

Good thought. I hope you're right.