How to think about Typhoon Haiyan
With winds measuring more than 200mph and waves more than 16 feet high the effects are there for all to see. At least one million have been left homeless with countless more in need of aid. The number of dead continues to rise in their hundreds while disease and sickness are spreading relentlessly. In what is now the worst storm on record, how are we to think about Typhoon Haiyan?
Three things we should not do….
1.) Don’t ignore it.
It’s not easy to watch the devastating scenes on our television or to listen to the stories of survivors. In fact to escape the tragedy of it all the temptation is to change channels. But don’t retreat into the security and comfort of your own dreams and ignore it. Watch and see the reality of the broken world we live in. Most of us live immune to such suffering while the majority of the worlds population live with it every day. We need to be reminded of our privileged position and all that we have; fresh food, secure homes, clean running water and access to health care.
2.) Don’t be overcome
With up to date images beamed into our homes it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all. The impact of the storm seems insurmountable. We feel helpless and wonder what we can do. While we are not responsible to feed everyone or fix every home, we are responsible to do what we can. From our privileged position we can help those we are able to. God has made us stewards of all the resources he has given us and so we must do all we can to help all we can.
3.) Don’t sit in judgement
The easy way out is to become self righteous believing that what has happened is God’s judgement. We however have no grounds to think this. Those who live in the Philippines are no different to you or I. In fact we should wonder, why a Typhoon has not hit Ireland! If anyone deserves judgement it is us who live such luxurious selfish lives while the world continues to suffer.
Three things we should do….
1.) Be thankful
Instead of our constant complaints at the state of our economy we should be grateful for all we have and enjoy. We are still in the top 20% of the worlds richest people and live in one of the most secure countries in the world as far as natural disasters go. So as the news hits our screens give thanks to God for all that he has provided through his amazing generosity.
2.) Be prayerful
We may feel hopeless and helpless but we can all pray. Pray that food and aid would get to those most in need and that treatment and care will be made available to the most vulnerable. Pray for God’s restraining hand against the acts of evil men who will use such tragedy to exploit children and young women. Pray that people across the Philippines will cry out to God in their suffering and find a saviour who cares and loves them.
3.) Be hopeful
As we witness the broken world we live in and see the suffering and pain in the eyes of those who tell their story, remember that God has done something to end all this misery. Through the death of his Son Jesus Christ, He has paid the penalty for this sin cursed world and made it possible for people from every nation and language to be part of his new creation, a world without Typhoons or any other disaster.