Where was God when Haiti Shook?

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In the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti Tuesday, it is hard not to ask where God is in a tragedy like this.  How could a loving God allow such calamity to befall a country that has been ripped and torn apart by bloody coups, mudslides, hurricanes, and abject poverty?

As a Christian, it is natural to want to offer a defense of God that would explain why events such as the occur throughout the world.  If God is such a loving god then how could He let this happen?

Does God Need a Defender?

We live in an age where we believe that just about everything can be explained.  We insist that there are no mysteries that can’t be solved in the Information Age.

Even the actions of God are explainable by many.  For some, this is simply more evidence that God does not exist or does not care.  For others, they see natural disasters and terrorist acts as God’s wrath being poured out upon a disobedient people.

Pat Robertson is making headlines, yet again, with his suggestion that the calamities that have befallen Haiti over the past several years is the curse from making a pact with the devil centuries ago.  I really wish he would retire his microphone.

No, I don’t think that God needs us to defend Him.  Too many times we, as Christians, have this warped view that God has got Himself into trouble again so we must ride to His rescue.  If it wasn’t such a sad commentary on Christianity, it would be comical.

Have You Considered My Servant Job?

Christians don’t like to talk about the book of Job much. On a microcosmic level, Job suffered many of the same calamities as Haiti has the past several years – except they all hit on one day.

God allowed Satan to cause bands of men to slay his servants and take his possessions, a fire to fall from the heavens to consume the remaining possessions, and a great wind to collapse a building killing all of his children while they were eating.

Not only did God allow it, but it was His suggestion to Satan to consider His servant Job that started it all. God is then silent for 36 chapters, but when He speaks it is not to answer Job’s pleadings of why.  Instead, God spends the next 4 chapters asking questions for which Job had no answers.

The final chapter results in Job’s repentance and restoration, but there is no explanation given to Him by God as to why he was subjected to these calamities.

Where Were We Before the Earthquake?

If God will not answer our question, and if we are not wise enough to even begin to understand His answer, maybe we should ask another?

The earthquake in Haiti will be much worse due to the economic and social conditions of the country before the earthquake struck.  Sadly, the picture above was not taken this week.  It has been the plight of many Haitians for decades now.

So the question we should be asking is “Where were we before the earthquake?”  How can a country only 700 miles to the south of the United States live in abject poverty while we complain about such trivial things?

The Christian Entrepreneur and the Poor

Several weeks ago I posted What the Christian Entrepreneur Owes the Poor where I looked at the example Boaz set for us.  God has called us as Christian Entrepreneurs to provide the resources necessary to accomplish His will here on earth.

When the rich young ruler came to Christ wanting to be a disciple and follow Him, Christ told him to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor.  Isn’t it interesting that He didn’t tell him to give the money to Him?

As stewards of God’s wealth that we create as Christian entrepreneurs, let us not forget the poor.  Let us not forget the least of these.

You be the answer to “Where is God?”

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Brad's Big Feet Marketing helps people on a limited budget enlarge their online footprint using blogging & social media. His other blog, Marketplace Christianity, examines faith's role in how we earn and spend money.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita Cartwright January 15, 2010 at 12:23 am

Brad, I knew you would have a thought-provoking post regarding the situation in Haiti. I wish Pat Robertson would retire his microphone, too, as well as a few more of his compadres.

People are always quick to shake their fists at God rather than taking a look at themselves. Like you said, "where were we before the earthquake". God gave us free will, and we chose not to help Haiti. We should have chosen to ensure they had earthquake-resistant buildings, a solid infrastructure, better social conditions, stronger economy, etc. In the bible, God commands us over and over again to take care of the poor, widows, and orphans.

The bright side to the disaster is the light is shining on Haiti's situation. Maybe we will make better choices. One can only pray that we will.
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Brad Harmon January 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm

As Christian entrepreneurs, Haiti is a wake up call to us to reexamine our roles as stewards of God's resources. I think that we too often judge what is rich or poor based on standards of living in developed countries, but we forget about those people around the world that need both the gospel and someone to help meet their daily needs.

Sadly, their have been many situations like Haiti that should have shaken loose our death-grip hold on the temporal things of this world. As I sit in my nice home looking around at all of the material possessions I have, it makes me stop and wonder if I really understand what being the least really means. I wonder if I had been that rich young ruler would I have sold it all? Would I now?

My prayers and thoughts go out to the people of Haiti, but how much nicer would it have been if my feet, arms, and wallet had went out before this?


MikeHolmes January 15, 2010 at 1:46 am

Personally Brad, in my opinion, the issue was his timing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying what he said was right…or wrong…I am saying his timing was off. Like Rita said there is a bright side and that is in aid to the people.

I do believe we will see a spiritual reawakening in Haiti like never before…
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Brad Harmon January 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I agree that his timing was definitely off, but he has shown a pattern of insensitivity when disaster strikes. There's a fine line between discernment and hubris, and I think he has willfully crossed that line over and over again. He reminds me of Job's friends that blamed some hidden sin that Job must have committed for the calamities that he suffered, or like those that blamed the sins of the parents for the blindness of the man Jesus healed. God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and to claim to know the motives of God is a level of hubris for which I hope never to have to give an answer to God.


lawrence hale January 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I think that one answer to your question can be found in Psalms 139 and Roman chapter 8


Brad Harmon January 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Psalm 139 is such a great passage about knowing the mind of God and the presence of God. Romans 8 is one of my all-time favorite passages where Paul waxes eloquently about how nothing can separate us from the love of God. It is such a comfort to know that a God that loves us beyond what we can comprehend, who is with us even when it doesn't seem possible, is still in control and works all things together for good to them that love Him despite our ability to understand or see how. Thanks for sharing these great passages.


Alison Moore Smith January 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I'm not fan of Robertson. But I certainly do think the scriptures make it clear that God *can* use nature to punish people (the aptly named "acts of God"). The problem isn't the idea, it's with Robertson presuming to determine just when that is. When, for example, he has a family crisis or difficulty, does he pronounce that it's because he's a sinner? I haven't heard that yet.

As for Haiti, we had a lot of Haitian friends in Florida. About a third of the congregation in my church was Haitian. I am so sad, as most of those I knew did have family still in Haiti.

The conclusion you arrive at is, I think, the most important point. We are the answer. We DO what God wants done.

Still, I think there is an answer to the inevitable questions about why God doesn't stop disasters or stop bad things from happening. It is fundamental to religion to have an idea of why we are here and why things happen. It is my belief that we are on earth, in part, as a test of our faith, of our discipleship. Yes, God does listen to us and he does help us. And on occasion, he intervenes. But for the most part, I believe he teaches us how to treat each other, how to live, how to best deal with problems, and then he lets us do it.

To me, moral agency is key in His plan. If God stopped all bad things from happening, we would have no opportunity to grow, no circumstance to serve, no path to be Christlike. In fact, there would be no purpose here at all.
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Brad Harmon January 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I agree with you Alison, while God does judge the nations I don't think we are in a place to know the mind of God to be able to decree such judgments. I am sorry to hear about your friends in Florida who still have family members in Haiti. I can't imagine what they must be going through.

I think if we are left to rely on only the things that we can fully understand about God then we are left with a tyrannical picture of Him. If, however, we accept the incomprehensible mind of God in light of His unfathomable love then we trust Him through faith that He does indeed make all things work together for good to those that love Him.


LEN GANDY June 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

Why are people stuck on the thought of God punishing others when it is a fact of life that the islands and the coast are not safe for men to live. That's common since. The islands were used for making money through slavery, not a place that we should go to retire. Earthquakes are fact of life, the same as burping. Do you blame God when you burp? Just as Brad said above, we are not in a place to judge anyone, we are blessed to be here ourselves. Let God be God and you be you all and don't go by what you read, judge that yea be not judged. WHO are you to wonder where God is at any time? Are you greater than God? Does God owe you anthing? Where was God when Haiti Shook? The same place he has always been "everywhere!" The same place he was during Katrina, Ritat, Camille, Ivan, Pompei, Mt St Helens, etc…


Brad Harmon July 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Thank God we cannot know His mind for who would want to serve a god that we can fully understand? At the same time, it can be frustrating to make sense of what He allows to happen here on earth. In one of the most harsh stories in the Bible, Job is scolded by God after having suffered unthinkable tragedies.

God did not explain Himself to Job, and He isn’t going to allow us to explain Him either. Those who try are just fools speaking to hear the sound of their own voice.
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