Again? How Do We Handle a Second Earthquake in Nepal?

This morning, I saw a post about an earthquake in Nepal. My first thought was that the post had gotten stuck for a couple weeks in this person’s ‘drafts’ folder. But no. It happened. Again.

Like many pastors, I made sure to lift up the people of Nepal in prayer two weeks ago. Anytime there are natural disasters that leave 7,000+ people dead, countless injured, and many more homeless, we are good about remembering to lift them up in prayer. I even made a passing reference to plate tectonics in the sermon, talking about how sometimes natural occurrences that cause devastation also play an important role in enabling and preserving life.

And while a second earthquake of virtually the same magnitude in virtually the same location is not necessarily shocking from a scientific and geologic point of view, it certainly can be troubling from the point of view of faith.

Even if you don’t believe that God causes earthquakes, you maybe begin to wonder why God didn’t stop this second one. Even if you don’t believe that God steps into to stop any major disasters, you still need to answer the question of where God is in all of this. And even if your answer to that is, “God is there suffering with them,” it doesn’t change the scope or scale of the loss. I am still wrestling with these issues, so this is not a blog post full of answers but rather questions.

This weekend, we celebrate Ascension Sunday. In Luke’s Acts 1 account, one of the charges Jesus gives to his disciples is, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” What, if anything, are we doing to assure that the witness of Christ’s presence and activity in the midst of the suffering is being carried out?

Do we pray? Do we write a check? Do we go there? Do we forget about it in a week? Do we recognize that much of the death and destruction is due to the poverty in the country? What do we do about a system/nation/world that allows people to live in such a vulnerable state?

Image by Flickr user USAID. Used under Creative Commons License. Cropped from Original.

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