Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unnatural Disasters

I’ve been overwhelmed by grief over what has happened to the people of Haiti. I’ve been overwhelmed with grief for what they’ve lost, what they’ve experienced, and what lies ahead of them—not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well.

I’ve been angry. I’ve been angry with God. I’ve wanted to understand why such a horrifying thing could be allowed to happen. I want to know why my brother and his wife and each of the other human beings in Haiti had to experience this horror.

I think now I finally understand what people looking at my life feel as they see what is happening to my body. I think now I can feel what they are feeling.

It’s all fine and good for me when it’s my body—I can see why this cancer is happening, I can see how it makes sense, I can see how God is using it to draw me and many others closer to Him.

What did not really make complete sense to me until today is that this cancer is my body showing the effects of sin and the Fall in the Garden. Before the Fall, those first two bodies ever made were perfect. They were flawless. There was not a single cell doing the wrong thing in either of those bodies.

What did not make sense to me until today, is that since the Fall, the earth itself is also subjected to the Curse of sin and death and parts of it are doing the wrong thing. Parts of it are creating earthquakes and tsunamis and hurricanes and drought. These are the cancers of the earth. These are the parts of the earth that are such immense sources of pain and suffering. These cancers of the earth are what Romans 8:22 is about: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

This bondage to disasters is not how God originally designed the earth. It is not how the earth will be forever. It is not natural.

As I’ve been looking forward to Jesus coming for me and healing my body so it no longer shows the effects of sin and dying, I haven’t been looking as much at the bigger picture, at how He is also going to heal the earth.

There WILL be a day when there are no fault lines, when there is no part of the earth that causes human beings to be killed in horrific unnatural disasters. This is what Romans 8:21 is all about: “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”

Until then, until the perfect healing and restoration of all things, it is our responsibility to use the resources He has given us—to me and you individually, to us as a nation, to the world as a international community—to bring as much hope and as much relief as possible to the people who are our neighbors both in our immediate physical space and in the rest of the world.


  1. O Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world have mercy upon us.

  2. Hi Martha,

    I've never met you - I grew up with Alexis in Cameroon, so I came across your blog on their blogsite. I just wanted to express to you just how touched I am by your posts. You are such an inspiration and an excellent writer. Thank you for sharing your faith and hope in God so beautifully. Courage!

  3. O Martha, how creation groans...I don't know how many times I have come back to this starting point. Lying around the house somewhere is a book called "The Gospel & the Kingdom" by George Ladd. Between the 'now and not yet' I feel like we're sitting like Job "The Lord gives & the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." but no one can stop us from longing for the final exorcism that will free us from these final strands of corruption that drape over us. We don't just sit and wait, we act & wait, but with anticipation of the coming true freedom. We sit in the sand & pray for you often...

  4. Dear Martha,

    God has given you incredible wisdom. Thank you for sharing it here. Your writing fills me with courage and renews my faith. You are wonderful to me...No one can even imagine how precious you are to HIM.

    " it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him'- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit."

    Thinking of you...Much love,