Sky News are reporting today that the death toll in Nepal has climbed to over 6 thousand lives. This earthquake has been incredibly severe. The death toll is mind boggling. And at Kingfisher Church – we are raising money to send to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
- To help save the lives of the injured and sick,
- To protect the vulnerable and the afraid.
- To ensure that living conditions, food and clean water supply is made available to everyone on the ground there.
This is so important – and I urge you to join us by giving to the DEC Nepal Appeal.
And yet financial aid is not the only thing that Kingfisher is giving. We are also praying for the families who are struggling with the loss of family members…whole families…whole villages. We are praying…
- That God would protect the vulnerable and ensure that the aid gets to where it is intended
- For the safety of the aid workers who are battling incredible harsh conditions on the ground there.
We are praying for peace in the midst of the trauma.
Because the God I read about is one who is
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God” Psalm 68:5, NLT
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18, NIV
And yet one of the cynical internet memes that is doing the rounds right now…pours scorn on our prayers.
It effectively says…why are we wasting our breath saying these prayers? Aren’t you responsible for this in the first place, God? If so…then praying to you makes no sense…and it is a waste of time.
As usual…memes like this one do oversimplify and miss the point entirely.
Why is it worth praying on behalf of the Nepalese to the God who is listening?
Well first…God may be responsible for the creation of the Universe and our Planet. But God is not responsible for…
1 – People deciding to live in dangerous regions of Planet Earth
I count myself as one of these people! Over the years, I have spent many weeks living in San Francisco. A beautiful and inspiring city. Yet one that has suffered terribly in past decades as a result of the shifting of the tectonic plates around the San Andreas Fault which passes thru the Bay there.
I guess you’ve got to live somewhere. My visits to the Bay area have been voluntary business trips. I have friends who live permanently in the Bay area themselves…and they choose to do so despite the risk. I have chosen to visit and spend time there…despite the risk.
Is this God’s fault? Not at all. It is my choice.
And unfortunately…the same is true for the Nepalese people (or at least their original anscestors). They live in an area marked by staggering beauty…the Himalayas must be a breath-taking sight. BUT – the mountain range is also testament to the very rapid movement of the plates that constitute the shell of the Planet in this region.
And they have decided to live there…despite the risk.
By the way…the science behind plate tectonics is pretty new; Lenny Esposito gives a brief rundown of it here. In summary, we have discovered that plate tectonics is part of what makes Earth habitable for humans. Earthquakes are necessary for people to survive. Further, scientists have mapped out the areas of the planet where earthquake activity is most likely…and therefore the areas which are most at risk. Some of these areas are at the bottom of the ocean…so pose no risk to humans (but do pose a risk to sea creatures). Unfortunately…other areas above sea level pose more of a risk to us.
2 – People deciding to ignore the warnings given of future Tectonic Plate activity
Geologists are not only discovering why plate tectonics is vital for life…and which areas are most at risk…they can even predict when future quakes are likely. The reality is that the predictions have been made in Nepal for twenty years. Warnings of a massive event have been repeated since the 1990s. As a Nepalese native himself…Lenny makes this point very clearly.
But the Nepalese people don’t need to examine the scientific evidence to know that an event is coming. The last devastating quake hit their region in 1934 and killed over 10,000 people. This is still in living memory for some people still alive today. Photographs exist and stories are still being told. The deadly 1934 event has now been joined by another deadly 2015 event.
Yet the Nepalese are proud of their country, and rightly so! These earthquakes…and the risk of devastation at the hands of nature…are part of Nepalese society. They are a wonderful people with a wonderful heritage…and their land is glorious to behold. The warning of future earthquake is simply a reminder to them of an aspect of what it is to be Nepalese.
Is this God’s fault? You cannot blame him for a tribe of people choosing to build their history on a dangerous spot on the planet. This doesn’t speak of God’s culpability; rather, it speaks of humanity’s courage and our ability to survive and thrive in a harsh and risky environment. And of people’s loyalty to the place of our birth, and our people there.
The meme is misled…God’s not responsible for this disaster.
3 – God is Responsible for Holding Out HOPE
God is – however – responsible for doing everything required to rescue mankind from a future that will lack all the blessings that we live with each and every day of our short lives.
Our world is affected by man’s rebellion against God.
Houses and dwellings in Nepal may well have been built without taking earthquake warnings to heed. Why? To make them cheaper to build…to turn a quicker profit while placing lives at risk. Sin is not just living as if God does not exist…it is also living as if other people don’t matter.
What has God done in response? Everything.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Right now we struggle and groan… “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you violence! but you do not save” (Habakkuk 1:2)
And yet the Bible’s answer is found in Jesus Christ…God’s Son who came to bring us an eternal future.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The Bible holds the answer to suffering people, folks.
As David Robertson says…what is the alternative? Just to shrug and say…”Bad stuff just happens?” Everything is random…so just suck it up? No – it’s not good enough! People are too vital and too important to be left to the vagaries of chance. God has made a way for us to know a wonderful future…which will eclipse our lives on this beautiful though dangerous planet.
He is the God who saves. And as a Christian…I want to copy God’s example as best I can. Hence the support of the financial appeal…hence the prayers.