This week I am teaching a course on spiritual renewal at the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven CT. Five of the participants are from Myanmar which has brought the horrors of the devastation of the cyclone in Myanmar very close to me. Most of these brothers are still unable to contact their families. Those that have already know of the deaths of family friends, loved ones and colleagues. Whole villages in which they worked have been swept away. Fellow church workers have been killed. One participant has lost 5 of his 6 pastoral colleagues. See before and after aerial photos here
This kind of devastation is unimaginable for us. There are already 22,000 confirmed dead and many think the death toll could rise to 100,000. For many of us the closest we can come to imagine this is the devastation after Hurricane Katrina or after the tsunami of 2004. The pain and suffering that people are and will continue to endure is unimaginable to us. All we can do is pray and respond with relief goods and support. But what we can do seems so small in the wake of such devastation.
Why does God allow events like this that sweep away Christians and non Christians alike. I don’t know The verse I continually return to is Lamentations 3: 31 – 33
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
My pray is that God’s love and compassion will be poured out on the nation of Myanmar today and throughout the coming months and that out of this terrible pain and suffering God may bring hope and wholeness.