I’m still in a state of shock after learning about the cyclone that swept across Myanmar (Burma) that now estimates over 128,000 people dead. Did you get that? Over 128,000 people dead! And if that’s not tragic enough, this Monday China has experienced 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed over 10,000 people in which many of them are children.
I’m hearing all these news and watching heart-wrenching pictures a day after I preached Matthew 8:28-34, which one of my sermon points was that Jesus values people more than livestocks, properties, and things. In fact, for the past four Sundays I’ve been preaching Matthew 8 to point out how Jesus is more powerful and needs to be feared than incurable diseases, demons, and powerful nature (e.g., storms, tornadoes, earthquakes). It is no coincidence that I’m witnessing all this right after having prepared and preached Matthew 8.
So how do we make sense of all this? For a starter, it would be helpful to read John Piper’s blog that he wrote last summer when a bridge collapsed in his city. Although the context of his writing is different than the recent events in Asia, the biblical and theological implications are the same. Afterwards, read his recent post “6 Ways to React to the Cyclone.”
While I’m grateful for Pastor John’s sensitive reaction to cyclone tragedy in Myanmar, I’m disappointed and disturbed about silence and absence of post by many major evangelical blogs. How can this be? If something like this magnitude happened on the shore or soil of America there probably be myriads of blogs about it. But how is that many major American evangelical bloggers and websites failed to mention about what has happened and happening in Asia? Whatever happened to the biblical notion that when one member of the body suffers the whole body suffers? I cannot believe the selfishness and blindness of American Christianity and churches due to materialism and wealth. Our churches should be mourning and grieving with some of our brothers and sisters in those parts of the world that have been directly impacted (or at least expressing sympathy and prayer) but we go on as if it’s no big deal when thousands of people just perished.
This is not the time to make such statements like “People die everyday so what?” or “Yeah but God is sovereign.” Do we really value people and their souls?
However, I am encouraged to see some of the notable church denominations/affiliations extending mercy and relief works, such as, Southern Baptist Convention, Presbyterian Church in America, and Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Although many of us would not ever read, affiliate, or fellowship with theological liberals (rightfully so), one area we need to do better than them is this area of extending mercy. By the way, I’m not referring to those mentioned above in such camp.