I’m sure by now that you have heard of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that has struck Haiti. Great damage has been done to the infrastructure of Haiti, and it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Haitians have died as a result of this natural disaster. During times like these, we ask ourselves, why did this happen?
Many religious people might argue that the earthquake is an expression of God’s indignation towards the Haitians. In other words, because of the sins of the Haitians (I have heard that it is a very ungodly place), God punished them by sending the earthquake.
But can we really make such a claim?
Let’s turn to Luke 13:1-5. Here we find an answer to this question. The text says, “There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.'”
When we witness tragedy, it may be tempting to say that God is punishing the wicked people who are involved. Many today may say this about the earthquake in Haiti. I know that this same reasoning was tossed around when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. But according to Jesus in Luke 13, it is really not our place to make such claims.
John 9 is another great text to consider here. In John 9:2, the disciples’ asked Jesus, “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'” Again, we see that suffering is not always the result of personal sin. In this case, the man was born blind that the works of God might be revealed in Him.
Perhaps the earthquake has struck Haiti so that the works of God might be revealed there. I’m not suggesting that miracles are going to be performed in Haiti, but certainly, this is an opportunity for God’s people to show the love of Christ to those people there. We can send financial relief. Perhaps missionaries and evangelists will utilize this opportunity to reach out to the Haitians.
In any case, the tragedy in Haiti reminds us all that God is mighty and infinite in power. As we noticed in Luke 13, instead of exalting ourselves and pointing our judgmental finger at the Haitians, let us instead acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.
Having said all that, I also want to point out that it is possible that God is indeed punishing the Haitians. The fact is, God does judge wicked nations. Just read the prophets (Isaiah-Malachi) and even certain parts of the book of Revelation, and this point will be obvious to you. So yes, it is possible that God is judging Haiti, but again, can we as people know the mind of God in this matter? No.
So much more could be said about this subject, but I’ll end the article here. May God bless the Haitians during this time of tragedy, and may we do all that we can to help them.