Posted by: Mark | January 22, 2010

Haiti – some thoughts

Just 5 days ago there was an earthquake 40km from where we live of magnitude 5.3. The earth shook noticeably for up to one minute with even some local people saying it was one of the biggest ones they had felt in a long time. The sheer power of the earth started to come home to me. However, 3 days before we had an earthquake here, a much more infamous and powerful one hit Haiti. This one measured 7.0 on the richter scale and its aftershocks (and the many smaller earth quakes leading up to it) were as big as ours. In my mind it is shattering to think that the earthquake in Haiti had roughly more than 1000 times the energy of ours. The resulting devastation is huge. Above all else we need to be in prayer for those who live in Haiti and also be involved in whatever practical ways we can.

As I think through this devastation several things have given me insight and I have listed them here for your help as well. They are in no particular order.

  • Pastor Mark Driscoll’s blog (he is on the ground in Haiti). It is interesting from this site to get some raw, unedited reports of what things are like for people in Haiti. Anyone who knows Mark Driscoll’s speaking knows he doesn’t miss and hit the wall. (Mark is now back from Haiti and has been interviewed by USA Today)
  • BBC Timeline of the quake in Haiti – gives a good brief overview of the disaster
  • Why does God allow natural disasters – a BBC article written by a philosopher (David Bain, University of Glasgow). This article is not at all written from a Christian perspective but should be read and thought about by all Christians. These are questions we need to grapple with.
  • Are calamities acts of God (text, audio) – a sermon preached by Pastor Jurem Ramos (Soli Deo Gloria church, Davao City, Philippines) when flooding hit in Manila, late 2009.
  • Are calamities acts of God 2 (text, audio) – the second sermon in the above series
  • The book of Job (ch38-40) – I have had reason to read this book again for something else I am involved in. I truly feel that God’s answer to Job after there have been several rounds of going back and forward between him and his “friends” is helpful at this time. Job’s answer to his wife in Job 2.10 is also a helpful question for us.
  • Finally can I recommend a book by Dr Paul Brand, “The gift of pain“. This is one of my favourite books (hopefully I will review it here soon). I think Dr Brand makes some very interesting comments and observations from his life time of experience working with leprosy victims. This book is edited by Philip Yancey and for fans of Yancey’s writings you might also be interested in his book “Where is God when it hurts“.

As we read and think through these things we need to realize that as Christians we have a responsibility to think and be prepared to give answers. However, we also have a responsibility to help those in need. Lets pray to God for the Haitian people and about our response to them.



  1. The BBC coverage of the disaster, relief and how to get aid to the region, has all been excellent. Although at first they did make it sound as if there were some sort of willful intransigence on the part of those leading the efforts. Of course the airport was blocked and partially destroyed.

  2. […] I blogged about Haiti and the devastating earthquake that happened there. I mentioned in that blog that a Pastor by the […]

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