Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti and destroyed so much here. Lives lost, property damaged, and a global rescue initiative that has hurt as much (or more) than it has helped in the recovery process.
As I am getting ready to leave Haiti on Friday, after spending what will be almost 11 months here, I have so much emotional baggage that I know I will have to deal with in the upcoming weeks as I begin to process this experience. But today in church, I was caught completely off guard by those emotions bubbling to the surface.
People who know me in person will tell you that I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve. I tend to internalize them and deal with them quietly on my own. However, after driving through part of Port-au-Prince to get to church, then the worship leader reflecting back on the earthquake, and singing the following words from the David Crowder Band, I broke. We sang:
“When the shadows fall on us, we will not fear; we will remember. When darkness falls on us, we will not fear; we will remember. When all seems lost, when we’re thrown and we’re tossed, we’ll remember the cost. We’re resting in the shadow of the cross.”
One of the elders in the church, mid-song, went up and invited anyone needing prayer to come forward, and as some of the Haitians in the English-speaking church began to make their way to the front, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Even now in writing all this, the tears are swelling again.
Knowing that my time here is coming to an end has made it more obvious than ever that Haiti has completely imbedded itself in my heart and mind. I love this country. I love these people. And I want, above all else, for the grace of God through Jesus Christ to fall here. I pray for healing. I pray for justice. I pray for salvation. And I don’t understand why those things tarry.
The one thing I do know is that all of the destruction and poverty is not God’s will for this country. God became man and shed His blood to redeem these people and make them children of the King. Grace is available, if not yet realized. But I know the day is coming when Christ reigns as King in this place.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
One day, Jesus will return to this earth and call Haiti His own, as with every other nation on earth. But until then, though everything seems to be against it, we pray for mercy. We pray for God’s restraining power against evil. We pray that He will still the earth and hold back the destructive winds and rains. We pray for peace for this people. And then we sit back with the prophet Habakuk and find our rest in the sovereignty of our Lord.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV)