What Does Tragedy Look Like?
If you remember about a month ago, I wrote a blog that linked to a famous sermon called Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I have since listened to the sermon again, and I want to tell you something that I noticed about Haiti and All Things New when listening.
Most people who know about, visit, or have a vague idea of what Haiti is like consider it a place that needs to be "fixed." I have had numerous conversations with people (and these conversations do not annoy me in the least, I promise) who have come up with their version of a "fix" for Haiti and I have done it myself from time to time. The plight and state of Haiti right now could be considered a "tragedy" to many people.
We have a friend/employee who has 2 beautiful girls. One is a little younger than Sophie and the other is about a year old. We had a church donate money to help fix his house because it was leaking profusely every time it rains. They struggle to put food on the table every day because there are so many other family members who live right next to them that need their help. They have a 4 room (not bedroom, total rooms) home that is barely big enough for 2 people.
This person is a leader in his church, spends every other weekend as a traveling evangelist preaching GOD's Word. He leads a Bible study with our kids regularly, and when one of them gets in trouble, he sits with them and teaches them about what it means to love God.
His house is way too small, he does not always have enough food, and he is going to struggle financially to keep his kids in school. If even 1 small negative thing were to happen, it would destroy the already fragile economics of his home and who knows what would happen. He lives in poverty and he is only a fraction of a second away from losing "everything."
The majority of Americans who come to visit us in Haiti see situations like this pretty much immediately upon landing. They see our friend and hear about his story, and they think how sad it is. We, as Americans, see things like this and the majority of us want to help what we see as a "tragedy." So we give a little money and ask that it be used to fix their house, send their kids to school, or put a little food on their table and we feel good.
Then, we go back home to our "un-tragic" lives. Lives where our kids are the best baseball players, smartest students, most talented singers, and most graceful dancers. Lives where we spend the time necessary to fill our bank accounts and make sure that not only do we have food tonight, but that we have everything we want and need. Lives where we save and save and save our money to make sure that nothing could ever hurt us and that one day we will live out our retirement doing whatever makes us happy. Lives where we have great churches, Godly leaders, and where we can worship together in freedom with other believers. Lives where we spend so much time doing all of the things listed above that we realize we do not have time to know Jesus.
Sure we go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, we send our kids to camp, we may go to a Christian concert, and we may even go on mission trips when Covid allows it. However, when we look at our lives and the things we do and the way we spend our money, we realize that one thing is missing more than anything else...GOD.
So, who is living the tragedy?
- The man who is content with nothing as long as he can preach the Word of God and spend his days and nights pursuing Jesus.
- The man who has everything that we as "churched" Americans believe to be blessings from GOD but lives mostly apart from him, pursuing his job, his family, and his finances more than the GOD of the universe who literally gave him everything.