Many of you, like me, are heartbroken by the pictures of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti a couple of days ago. It can be overwhelming and disheartening thinking of how we can help. Then you hear about something a public Christian figure says in response to the earthquake, and you want to bang your head on the wall… (BTW, I won’t waste any time here responding to those comments other than referring you to read posts by the following people: Don Miller, Susan Isaacs, Eugene Cho, and Larry Shallenberger. They do a much better job than I ever could of responding.)
At times like this, I always hear questions from kids about why things like this happen. Why do bad things happen? Why do so many people have to die? Each time I have no good answers for them. The world is broken. It’s not what God intended it to be. So what do we do? What do we say to children when stuff like this happens.
Let me offer what I believe is a missional response… First, I listen to what kids are saying. I ask them why they think stuff like the Haiti earthquake happens. I listen. I don’t correct or steer. I listen. I then ask them what God might be wanting them to do in order to help. What can we do to bring God’s Kingdom to a dark and devastating situation? How can we pray for what’s going on there? How can we give to help those helping? How can we bring light to that situation?
I think we get so caught up sometimes in trying to explain why bad things happen. We forget that question is more of a distraction sometimes. The real question is, “How can we help God’s Kingdom come in the midst of pain and disaster and darkness?” We need to empower kids to take a look at the world around them and all that is broken around them and ask, “God, how can I be light? How can I be a part of your Story of redemption in this situation? How can I love you and love others in this?”
This weekend, we will be helping children to respond to the images they’ve more than likely seen on television and online. We will give them tangible ways to respond through prayer (by setting up stations where they can specifically pray for specific situations) and through giving (of money, encouraging cards, and art). Those are our ideas right now.
- What are you doing to help children respond?
BTW, if you are looking for some organizations to give to for the Haiti relief effort:
You can also check out your local denomination to see if they have a fund set up for donations towards relief in Haiti.
Here’s a video from Tony Kummer with tips on giving towards Haiti: